By Lynnette Horwath

There was a time when youth substance abuse prevention focused on fear — times have changed. Studies have shown that fear tactics don’t work well. The buzz term in today’s prevention world is “social norming” or promoting that the majority of kids are making the right choices and it’s actually really cool to be part of the drug free majority.

In line with this focus is an evidence based program that PACT Prevention Coalition works with called Natural High. Who needs an artificial high when there are an endless array of natural highs in life? Our goal: Help our youth find a passion for a positive pastime, which will dominate their focus and priorities so that alcohol and drugs won’t figure in as even remote temptations.

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The Natural High Program features a series of about 40 video presentations by young adult celebrities that our teens know. Most of their videos (which can be viewed on YouTube at ) are about five to seven minutes long. The celebrities tell how their natural high helped them make right choices in staying away from drugs and alcohol in middle and high school. They also share other insights on how they achieved their dreams. Natural highs can be anything from dancing to art, from lacrosse to wrestling. There are a series of discussion questions for each video for interactive group dialog.

PACT Prevention Coalition is available to bring Natural High to school clubs, church youth groups and other youth organizations. Contact Bridget Heenan at or Lynnette Horwath at to schedule a PACT presentation or to train leaders to do these presentations independently.

Lynnette Horwath is with PACT Prevention Coalition of St. Johns County

Photo courtesy Lynnette Horwath

Maggie Gibeau of St. Johns County, whose natural high is surfing.

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