Icelandic Prevention Model for Rural Youth: A Feasibility Study in Central Appalachia

Mar 26, 2021 | Kristjansson

The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of implementing the Icelandic model for Primary Substance Use Prevention (IPM) in rural Central Appalachia. Guided by the IPM’s theoretical framework, 26 stakeholders from a single county in West Virginia were purposefully recruited during the spring of 2019 and divided into four focus groups. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and analyzed into themes based on IPM premises. Focus group material produced seven themes: Drug use overall, Drug treatment and other service needs, Poverty, Parenting/Caregiver practices, Transportation, Downtime/Leisure time activities, and Opportunities for solutions. General support was found for the potential of the IPM in the region. Preferably, the implementation of the model should coincide with attention to the adult population as drug use was reported to be plaguing the whole community. Treatment options were few and mostly far away. General poverty and lack of public transportation further stifled progress and potential for change. Organized leisure time activities and programs for youth were scarce and mostly seasonal. Suggested solutions for the adult community included workforce and skill training, coupled with increased opportunities for organized leisure activities for youth, and access to healthy role models via schools and faith-based organizations. We conclude that implementation of the IPM would be feasible to prevent substance use initiation and progression among youth in the rural Central Appalachia. We present several specific recommendations for policy and practice that address factors unique to this environment to initiate the IPM implementation development and suggest initial model application strategies.

PubMed Abstract

Kristjansson, A. L., Davis, S. M., Coffman, J., & Mills, R. (2021). Icelandic Prevention Model for Rural Youth: A Feasibility Study in Central Appalachia. Health Promot Pract, 15248399211002827. doi:10.1177/15248399211002827