The Lithgow Local Drug Action Team and Lithgow City Council, in association with the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, were thrilled to host the world renowned Planet Youth Team on 20 February at a workshop where the findings of recent research undertaken in Lithgow on behaviours and attitudes of local school students towards drug and alcohol use were presented.
Planet Youth is an evidence-based model from Iceland that is internationally renowned for its work in significantly reducing alcohol and other drug use among young people.
The workshop was an opportunity for the Planet Youth team to share the findings from research conducted in Lithgow last year, as part of its participation in the Planet Youth Australia pilot program. Year 10 students in Lithgow and four other local government areas around Australia were surveyed on a range of attitudes and behaviours around the use of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.
Approximately 50 people attended the workshop to hear the findings. The workshop helped community representatives strengthen their understanding of the issues and opportunities associated with local teenagers’ experiences around alcohol and other drugs; acting as a great starting point to set directions for future alcohol and other drug harm prevention activities.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is trialling an Australian version of Planet Youth through the existing Local Drug Action Team Program (LDAT), which is funded by the Federal Government and managed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. The Lithgow LDAT is chaired by Council and has representation from a large number of organisations, including LINC, Lithgow Community Projects, TAFE, Health, schools and police. The Local Drug Action Teams taking part in the Australian Planet Youth trial have been selected for their strong local partnerships and commitment to preventing alcohol and drug-related harms.
Since the introduction of Planet Youth in Iceland in 1998, youth alcohol and other drug use rates have transformed from some of the highest in Europe, to among the lowest. The country has also seen reductions in bullying and juvenile crime. Planet Youth shows that long term investment in community-led prevention leads to significant reductions in alcohol and other drug use.
For more information about the pilot, or the Lithgow Local Drug Action Team you can contact Council’s Community Development Officer – Kristy Lenon. The Planet Youth Report on Lithgow will be available soon at www.council.lithgow.com