"We have a lot of complex problems in this country," Beletsky said. "Without really addressing all of those physical, emotional, and mental health problems, just focusing on the opioid supply makes no sense — because people still have those problems."
Some places have put such ideas into policy. Iceland built an anti-drug plan that focuses largely on providing kids and adolescents with after-school activities, from music and the arts to sports like soccer and indoor skating to many other clubs and activities. Iceland coupled this approach with other policies — setting drinking and smoking ages, banning alcohol and tobacco advertising, enforcing curfews for teenagers, and getting parents more involved in their kids' schools — to further discourage and fight drug use.
Researcher Harvey Milkman told journalist Emma Young, who profiled Iceland's experiment, that it's "a social movement around natural highs: around people getting high on their own brain chemistry … without the deleterious effects of drugs."
As a result, Iceland, which had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, has seen adolescent consumption fall. The number of 15- and 16-year-olds who got drunk in the previous month fell from 42 percent in 1998 to just 5 percent in 2016, and the number who ever smoked marijuana dropped from 17 percent to 7 percent in the same time frame. In a similar time period, from 1997 to 2012, the percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who participated in sports at least four times a week almost doubled — from 24 to 42 percent — and the number of kids who said they often or almost always spent time with their parents on weekdays doubled, from 23 to 46 percent.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
How to stop the deadliest drug overdose crisis in American history - Vox