What is Planet Youth Lanark County? 

A New Way to Engage Our Community

Planet Youth is a name that represents a new approach to measurably improving quality of life within a community.  Specifically, Planet Youth is designed (and proven) to reduce or prevent drug/substance abuse and misuse among youth while helping to build and strengthen communities. It was pioneered successfully in Iceland over 20 years ago and is now in use in over 40 countries worldwide.  We are excited to share that we are committed to now bringing this approach to life – with your help – right here in Lanark County.

We, Planet Youth Lanark County, are sponsored by the Municipal Drug Strategy Committees in Lanark County and Smiths Falls with support from our Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.

We are partnering with leaders in education, health-care, local governments, and police services as well as various volunteer organizations to help achieve our collective goal of enhancing the quality of life and the quality of our communities by preventing drug and substance abuse/misuse. Our steering committee is populated with leaders and policy makers from each of these sectors within our communities.

Our recommendations for actions will be based on clear evidence identified and resulting from in-depth and regularly conducted student surveys and from reviewing proven policies and best practices from other jurisdictions.

Planet Youth Lanark County is not a program.  It is a new approach to identify and establish long term, community-driven strategies that promote positive social and environmental change.

Some of the steps taken in Iceland and other countries that have proven successful include:

  • removing barriers to positive activities and pursuits for youth
  • bringing awareness to the public about the benefits of increased family time
  • improving lines of communication between schools, parents, community organizations and youth.

Given the alarming increase in our communities of overdoses and fatalities related to drugs, and the legalization of recreational use of cannabis, we believe a new approach is required.

Planet Youth Lanark County is gearing up to work within our communities to make a difference – to truly ‘move the needle’ on the factors that lead to substance abuse in the first place.  We believe in the power of a strong community, where people of all ages feel a sense of belonging, connection and purpose.  It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child.  Not every community thinks or functions as a ‘village’, where there is a shared sense of responsibility for our youth and our elders.  But together, here in Lanark County, we have the ability, through these efforts, to influence how we think, function and thrive as a community.

Armed with evidence-based research and proven strategies, we will work together with other community stakeholders to ensure that the future is not only full of promise and possibilities, but yields the benefits of communities, families and individuals that grow and flourish together.


Brenda MacDonald-Rowe