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For Written Answer on : 06/03/2024
Question Number(s): 222 Question Reference(s): 11053/24
Department: Health
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Health if his Department is aware of the Icelandic Planet Youth model; the engagement, if any, that his Department has had with Icelandic Planet Youth to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


Planet Youth is an international evidence-based primary prevention model, developed by the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis at Reykjavik University. The model uses a whole population approach and offers the opportunity to improve health and life outcomes for young people in many areas. It works by directly targeting the risk and protective factors that determine their substance use behaviours and enhancing the social environment they are growing up in.

I am aware of Planet Youth projects being run across the country and have engaged with the project promoters. This has included meetings with these groups, discussing the work they do, and formally launching the publication of survey results for the Western Regional Taskforce.

Drug prevention and education seeks to reduce the harmful use of drugs and alcohol from an early age. A strategic priority within the national drugs strategy is to strengthen the prevention of drug and alcohol use and the associated harms among children and young people. To progress this priority, the Department of Health has established a new drug prevention and education programme with funding of €1.5 million over three years. This is the first-time the national funding for drug prevention has been provided by a government department.

The successful initiatives already have strong track records in drug prevention, and I’m delighted that, with our funding support over the next three years, they can continue to improve the lives of people by reducing the use of harmful drugs and alcohol from an early age.

The programme will draw on evidence from Europe to professionalise and elevate the practice of drug prevention in Ireland. In particular, the programme will promote the European Prevention Curriculum and international prevention standards.

I feel it is imperative that we support evidence-based initiatives that engage with people who may be at risk of using drugs’ in a variety of contexts – in our schools, communities, universities, and the night-time economy.