The Ongar area of Dublin 15 is an ideal location for a strategy used in Iceland to tackle teen drug abuse and promote a sense of community, it’s been claimed.
Local election Social Democrats candidate Aengus O’Maolain wants the Government to pilot the ‘Youth in Iceland’ model in west Dublin.
The Icelandic prevention model which targets the ‘causes of causes’ has seen youth substance abuse drop from 42% in 1998 to just 5% in 2016.
Over the same period, the number of teenage smokers fell from 23% to 2% and teen marijuana use dropped from 17% to 7%.
Mr O’Maolain said Dublin 15 was a “perfect test bed for this sort of project” which could “dramatically improve the lives of young people” as well as enhancing public security and fostering a sense of community.
A recent study by the Blanchardstown Drug and Alcohol Task Force found that children as young as 10 were being coerced into dealing illegal narcotics as a means of clearing a drug debt.
Mr O’Maolain said: “We all know the old adage, that it takes a village to raise a child, but we are in danger of forgetting that in the Ongar area.
“Let’s use this cutting-edge public policy as a model and take our children’s growth and development seriously.”
The Youth in Iceland project – which adopts a prevention rather than cure approach – is now being adopted across the globe by local authorities and government agencies.
The Nordic model includes grants to families and local sports and youth clubs and involves schools, parents and the wider community locally in running the scheme.
Mr O’Maolain said: “The population profile, the location, and the positivity of the population is already here in Ongar, Hartstown, Huntstown, Littlepace and Clonsilla.
“All that’s needed is a kick-start from Fingal County Council and the Government to make this a reality. Doing nothing should not be an option.”