In Scotland, substance use amongst young people is a significant public health concern, with many young people reporting alcohol, tobacco and/or drug use (2,3). Prevention of youth substance use is complex. The most effective method is by restricting access to substances through regulation, pricing, taxation and laws (4,5). While evidence for school and family-based interventions is under-developed, some show promise (6–9). In Scotland, the Scottish Government supported delivery of alcohol-brief interventions into wider settings, including youth services, as part of its national Alcohol Brief Intervention programme (10). Furthermore, the new Scottish Government drug and alcohol strategy (1) prioritises the need to develop new approaches in the area of universal prevention/education for young people, advocating for development of peer-led methods.
Iceland had similar problems with high rates of substance use amongst young people during the 1990s (11) and, since implementation of a new approach (YiIM), rates of alcohol, tobacco and drug use have decreased dramatically (12). Between 1997 and 2014 rates of drunkenness decreased from 29.6% to 3.6%, and smoking from 17% to 1.6% (13). YiIM is a community-based approach aiming to prevent young people’s substance use through reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors (12). Key components are parents, organised extracurricular/recreational activities, schools, and involvement of young people (14). Schools are encouraged to strengthen supportive networks between themselves, parents, and other community organisations (14). Other cities/municipalities have adopted and modified elements of YiIM via the Youth in Europe Programme, mostly in Central/Eastern Europe, to suit locally specific conditions (15,16).