Singapore’s National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) has created an interactive short film to spark conversations and spread awareness of the destructive reality of drug abuse among the public, particularly the youth.
Local director Royston Tan directed the short film, titled High, which is part of a campaign created by Dentsu Aegis Network. It allows viewers to make choices on behalf of the protagonist to uncover the various endings and possibilities within the storyline and underscores the importance of making informed decisions.
This campaign aims to explore the challenges and choices relating to drug abuse that youth may encounter, in recognition of the evolving global drug use growth.
The film is hosted on its own microsite and features a variety of opportunities to converse and engage the youth to kickstart conversations with young people on drug issues.
After watching and experiencing the highs and lows of drug abuse through the film’s characters, youth can uncover for themselves the highs and lows of different drugs through the microsite’s chat-format FAQ session.
The microsite also enables viewers to share their film ending on their social media platforms and encourage their friends to do the same to spark conversation among youth on the truths behind drug abuse.
Other activities on the site include taking part in a character quiz and sharing their results with their friends online. Young people can also reach out and speak to NCADA for advice, or share their personal stories at HIGH’s Instagram page, @highsg.
“Youth today are constantly faced with pro-drug narratives which are shaping their attitudes, to be more liberal, towards drugs. They are also exposed to all kinds of misinformation on effects and benefits of certain drugs,” said Hawazi Daipi, the chairman of NCADA.
“In this climate, we felt the need to engage with the youth in a deeper and more meaningful manner, to first understand how they form their opinions and attitudes towards drugs, and secondly to have open conversations with them on the realities and harms of drug abuse. With this campaign, we hope to engender greater cognizance of the larger context of pro-drug narratives and the importance of building empathy and anti-drug advocacy among our youth.”
High was screened at ITE College Central, ITE College East, and Singapore Polytechnic earlier in January, reaching a total of 5,162 students. Each film screening was followed by a Safe Zone Discussion (SZD), an interactive and thought-provoking platform for students to share their thoughts on the film, on drug abuse and drug advocacy.
At the Singapore Polytechnic session, a panel of experts from the National Addictions Management Service (NAMS) was invited to be part of the SZD and shared their experiences with the students.
The NAMS panel which consisted of Thomas Koh, a Peer Support Specialist, who helps and accompanies former abusers on their recovery journey, Dr Sandor Heng, a Senior Clinical Psychologist, and Dr Guo Song, a Senior Consultant addressed questions from the students on the medical and social aspects of drug abuse.