Icelandic Prevention Approach (IPA)

What is the Icelandic Prevention Approach?

The Icelandic Prevention Approach is a highly successful evidence-based approach to reduce drug and alcohol use and promote good mental and physical health in youth.



IPA was developed to address Iceland’s devastating youth alcohol problem

The percentage of Icelandic youth who reported being drunk in the past month decreased from 42% to 28% in just 5 years and to 7% 12 years after IPA implementation

IPA has been successfully replicated in multiple communities in Europe

Success of the IPA in Iceland 1995 – 2017


  • Raising healthy youth is a community-wide effort
  • Treating the community, not the individual, will maximize success
  • Blaming a single group for problems, e.g., parents, peers, communities, or schools, is counter-productive


  • Apply a primary prevention approach designed to enhance the social environment
  • Emphasize community action and embrace public schools as natural hubs
  • Engage and empower community members to make practical decisions using high-quality local data
  • Integrate researchers, policy makers, practitioners, and community members into a unified team to solve complex problems
  • Match the scope of the solution to the scope of the problem


  • Coalition is formed of community and regional stakeholders dedicated to reducing drug and alcohol use and promoting better mental and physical health in their youth
  • Student surveys are administered every two years to examine student behaviors and attitudes and to allow students to identify barriers to their success
  • Community assessments are conducted to identify resources, needs, and attitudes
  • Stakeholders convene to use student and community data to assess progress and develop new or adjust existing strategies to achieve regional and community youth success-related goals and objectives
  • The process repeats on a 12-24 month cycle



  • Explain how IPA works, outline its successes, and describe its potential benefits to youth
  • Facilitate program implementation by providing expertise and material support for stakeholder and community-wide meetings and forums
  • Assist in customizing, administering, and interpreting IPA student surveys
  • Provide expertise in designing community assessment approaches and tools
  • Bring West Central Mountains communities together to address regional issues
  • Enhance community resources by providing relevant education and training
  • Provide a web platform for online donation to youth-oriented community projects


  • Expands the number and types of funding opportunities available to communities
  • Provides a cohort with which to share ideas, failures, and successes
  • Maximizes use of resource and creates synergies

PHysical Address

150 W Roseberry Rd, Suite 1B-1

Donnelly, ID 83615

Mailing Address

PO Box 1761
McCall, Idaho 83638

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Funding for this project was made possible in part, by GA1RH39585 from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not reflect the official policies of CDH or HRSA, nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Idaho West Central Mountains Youth Advocacy Coalition [September 1st, 2020].