Amidst COVID-19 Lows, Singapore Braces for HIGH


The National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) of Singapore officially launched HIGH, its 2020 media campaign on 19th March 2020. Amidst liberalising attitudes towards drug abuse, this campaign aims to spark conversations and spread awareness of the destructive reality of drug abuse among the public, particularly the youth.

HIGH tells a tale of the destructive influence of drugs over the impressionable youth

This year’s campaign consists of Singapore’s first interactive short film and online activities to engage with the youth. Award-winning local director Royston Tan produced the short film, titled HIGH, in collaboration with NCADA. The film allows viewers to make choices on behalf of the protagonist to uncover the various endings and possibilities within the story line, and underscores the importance of making informed decisions. In light of the evolving global drug situation, this campaign hopes to explore the challenges and choices relating to drug abuse that youth may encounter.

HIGH explores the dynamic of youth and drugs in Singapore

Royston Tan is an award-winning Singaporean filmmaker with more than 30 short films in his repertoire, and HIGH is the latest addition to his filmography. It follows the story of Nick, a well-to-do young man who is invited into the world of drugs and hardcore partying by Sienna, a woman he meets on a dating app. Throughout the film, viewers may explore their curiosity with drugs, and discover the consequences of the choices they make.

Radio presenter and host Joakim Gomez and YouTuber Johnathan Chua of ‘Real Talk’ hosted the pre-launch campaign activities at ITE College East, ITE College Central and Singapore Polytechnic

The film is hosted on its own microsite and features a variety of opportunities to converse and engage the youth. These educational and thought-provoking activities, carried out in an interactive online platform, aims to kickstart conversations with the youth on drug issues. After watching and experiencing the highs and lows of drug abuse through the film’s characters, the youth can uncover for themselves the highs and lows of different drugs through the microsite’s chat-format FAQ session. The campaign was unveiled at a media preview on 18 March, and hopes to rally the youth and the public to talk about the drug issue in a more open and honest manner, while exploring the challenges that youth face in today’s liberal landscape.

A still from HIGH

Although, the film offers a grim setting, now that most of us are “working from home” due to the COVID-19 outbreak, perhaps HIGH could be a great way to educate and entertain ourselves! HIGH can be PLAYed on the film’s official website:

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Associate Editor, Pravasi Express Singapore | Dr. Sreyus Palliyani is an acclaimed author, actor, urban policy scholar and martial artist. He is an expert at Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate, Kobudo and Taekwondo. A black belt, practitioner and teacher for 20 years, he ranks martial arts as one of his two greatest passions. He penned his first conspiracy fiction thriller Gabriati: The rise of the Preceptor at the age of 24. His second book, "The Write Stuff" is a collaboration with many prominent writers from the U.A.E. He has also acted in numerous short films which includes A Woman's Heart (2019), Duty (2019), the documentary Awakening (2019) and the award winning feature film Kathaah@8 (2019). He graduated from the Government Engineering College Thrissur and later obtained his Masters from the National University of Singapore. He has worked with the Governments of Middle East and Singapore as a Transport Expert. Sreyus currently resides in Dubai and is an expert consultant for Travel and Transport. He is a Global Transport Policy expert with a PhD from the National University of Singapore.