Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent.
The way the country has achieved this turnaround has been both radical and evidence-based, but it has relied a lot on what might be termed enforced common sense. “This is the most remarkably intense and profound study of stress in the lives of teenagers that I have ever seen,” says Milkman. “I’m just so impressed by how well it is working.”
If it was adopted in other countries, Milkman argues, the Icelandic model could benefit the general psychological and physical wellbeing of millions of kids, not to mention the coffers of healthcare agencies and broader society. It’s a big if.
‘Life is not sunshine and rainbows and thank you for teaching me that life is unfair — people disappoint you and there’s sometimes nothing you can do about that. A lesson well learnt from the both of you. Thank you for not being there to wave goodbye as I jetted off to Uganda on a trip of a lifetime, thanks for not being there when I got my first set of exam results to say well done, thanks for not being there when I got the position of head girl (a personal dream), thanks for not being there for me as I stood in front hundreds of people to speak at the Caird Hall for my school prizegiving, thank you for not being there for me when I needed you…
You’ve given me the greatest lesson of how to be independent. You have both allowed me to be a more patient and tolerant person than I could have imagined.
Parents, both of you, thank you for teaching me that taking drugs ruin lives, breaks families apart and gives no one a quality of life worth living. I'll be eternally grateful for this lesson you have taught me which has a message which has stuck by me until this day and always will, I have never and will never have a desire to take harmful substances through your example…
Andrew Fisher 23/3/17 Cowra Guardian NSW Police Commissioner Scipione
“I remember when I was a kid it was cool to smoke, no one wore seat belts and everyone thought it was okay to have a drink and drive, but we had to educate people about the dangers of those things.”
“Supply and demand is supreme in this business.
“(Ice) can destroy families, you can tear the fabric of family so that it is almost not recoverable.
“You can destroy generations of harmony in a family in the blink of an eye. It’s a terrible, insidious drug,” he said.
He went on to point out ice can turn normal healthy people into a person with serious mental health issues.
“It can take normal healthy people and turn them into psychotic, paranoid, crazy people. Police officers get injured trying to control superhuman strength, it takes its toll on everyone,” he said.
Bringing down the dealers is always only going to be part of the solution, not the entire solution
“It might not be tomorrow, might not be in a year, but it will get you and when it does it could destroy you,” he said.
“How much do you care about your kids? Do you care enough to confront them? I think that’s the discussion you need to have around that table,” he said. You owe it to your kids, have that discussion now.