Addressing Youth Cannabis Use in Greenland

Identifying Evidence-Based Interventions and Delivery Strategies
PRS Briefs
PRS Policy Brief 1718-19
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Greenland has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. Moreover, cannabis use amongst Greenland’s youth population has emerged as one of the nation’s largest public health concerns. In 2002, 44.1 percent of male and 47 percent of female Greenlandic 15-year-olds had used cannabis. Evidence indicates these percentages have only increased in recent years.

The government agency Allorfik has developed treatment programs for adult substance abuse, but a treatment gap remains for youth-specific interventions. Allorfik commissioned this project to explore service delivery models that could be effective in combating youth cannabis use in Greenland. Accordingly, this report provides background information on adolescent substance use in Greenland and then examines a series of substance abuse treatment service delivery strategies relevant to the Greenlandic context.

The four service delivery models considered in this report are task-shifting, collaborative care, community mobile treatment, and telehealth, all of which have been implemented in a variety of remote, low-resource settings. For each of these four strategies, two case studies are presented. Based on an analysis of the benefits and limitations of these four strategies as well as the current resources available in Greenland, this report identifies specific programmatic elements that are options for implementation. This analysis will inform decision-making by Allorfik and the Ministry of Health with regards to initiating adolescent substance abuse treatment in Greenland.