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A Better High (3rd Edition)

Laugh, help, run, love...and other ways to get naturally high!

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A Better High is a powerful tool that can change attitudes about alcohol and drugs. It actually teaches and encourages young people to get high — in safe, positive and natural ways. Author Matt Bellace holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and has been involved in youth drug and alcohol prevention efforts since high school. Most importantly, Matt is a passionate and effective speaker who presents his message with humor and lots of audience interaction.  He captures that passion in the pages of his book. A Better High offers students, teachers and parents a positive way to talk about alcohol and drugs — and many wholesome ways to get high every day.

“Young people need to feel empowered in their schools and communities. It's not enough to ask them to stay away from drugs and alcohol. We need to show them positive things they can do instead, both for themselves and others!” – Matt Bellace

A Better High, Chapter by Chapter:

1. How to Get High Naturally.

2. Laughing, Smiling and Other Highs Better Than Cocaine.

3. Running, Surfing and Other Highs Better Than Weed.

4. Eating, Cooking and Other Highs Better Than Alcohol.

5. Helping, Listening and Other Highs Better Than Being Selfish.

6. Loving, Caring and Other Highs Better Than Hurting Yourself.

 7. Unhealthy Natural Highs.

8. Creating Your Own Natural High.


Extras: Recommended Speakers

It is difficult to find nationally recognized speakers who address prevention topics (e.g. substance abuse) in a positive way.  Here is my list of recommended speakers who are not only powerful on stage, but great people off stage.

Ty Sells

Ty is just great! He's been involved in youth prevention since he was a youth himself. He is an alcohol and drug-free speaker and works for the prevention group Youth to Youth International.

Dr. Michael Fowlin

Dr. Michael Fowlin (a.k.a. Mykee) is such a terrific speaker. I've only heard great feedback from students, teachers and administrators about his work. He speaks on the issues of race, discrimination, violence prevention and personal identity. His original and powerful presentations have been seen by over a million people.

Cara Filler

Cara visits over 200 schools a year, sharing her powerful message on distracted driving and making healthy choices.  She is one of my favorite speakers to run into on the road because she is genuine on and off stage.

Kevin Wanzer

Kevin Wanzer is a mentor of mine and a friend.  He has been speaking to youth for over two decades and does an amazing job. His ALOHA program is the definition of nationally recognized - as he has presented it in all 50 states.

Eddie Slowikowski

Eddie has been a youth speaker for over 15 years. He is a 3-time NCAA All-American athlete, a Gold Medal Winner on the US Track Team and the Founder of LifeRide Leadership Camp. More importantly, he is a great role model for youth and an excellent speaker on leadership and prevention topics.

Harriet Turk

Harriet is someone I've known for several years and recommend because of the rave reviews she has received from students. She can speak to almost any audience and on many different topics, from anti-bullying to body image.

Ed Gerety

Ed is a national level keynoter for all ages, but I’ve seen him do an exceptional job with student audiences.  His presentations focus on attitude and leadership and are very well-received.

Rick Minnifield

Rick Minnifield is formerly big man, but still has a big heart and smile. Rick's been involved in youth leadership and prevention for years, including over a decade with California's Friday Night Live and CORE Camp programs. Rick's the nicest guy you'll ever meet and his program will leave a lasting impression.

Scott Backovich

Scott Backovich is the real deal! He is a youth motivational speaker who seems wise beyond his years. He is witty and caring with a style that will appeal to any youth audience. I have seen Scott at some of the biggest conferences in the country. He presents on being a catalyst for your own dreams and other leadership topics.

R.E.A.C.H. Communications, Inc.

R.E.A.C.H. is a unique organization run by youth speaker Javier Sanchez. It has a diverse lineup of youth speakers to engage any audience. I like the fact that R.E.A.C.H. often sends multiple speakers to a conference or school, but conveys one unified message on healthy choices.

The Fisher Agency

The Fisher Agency is the premier bureau for speakers in the youth education market. I joined the bureau in 2005, but I've known about their great reputation for years. Chris Fisher and his staff have thoroughly studied speakers within the education market and will connect you with the best speakers available.

Josh Drean

Josh Drean, an energetic and talented anti-bullying speaker, is a fresh new face on the speaking scene.  Josh is a former mascot for BYU with a background in beatboxing and dancing, so he has no problem holding the attention of even the youngest of audiences.  


Extras: Prevention Resources

C.a.l.v.i.n. & H.o.b.b.e.s.

Check out the C.A.L.V.I.N. & H.O.B.B.E.S. website, the most amazing college prevention group the world has ever seen! They are about to turn 25 years old and I could not be more proud. 

New Social Engine

N.S.E. (New Social Engine)

N.S.E is a group of student-led prevention groups currently on three campuses in Morris County, NJ: FDU Madison, Drew University and County College of Morris. Started by my longtime friend Dave Bratton, the groups kicked off in the fall of 2010 and already are doing some terrific programs!

Natural High is a foundation that has provided almost every school in the nation with Natural High DVDs, featuring young celebrities who talk about being substance-free and the values of their natural highs.  I’ve had a partnership with this wonderful organization since 2011.

The Lindsey Meyer Teen Institute

The group that started it all for me! The Teen Institute of the Garden State, now known as the Lindsey Meyer Teen Institute, provides prevention and leadership conferences and follow-up activities for the students of New Jersey.

Dara Bellace, Ph.D.

For help with eating disorders

Do you have an eating disorder or are you thinking of starting one? I hope not, but if so you may want to give my wife a call. Dr. Dara Bellace is a very talented clinical psychologist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of eating disorders, obesity and related difficulties, including mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Bellace works with female and male preadolescents, adolescents and adults. She was on the faculty at Weill Cornell for seven years and now has a private practice in Princeton, NJ.


Your Better High at Home

“My Best Day” (excerpt from Matt’s book, A Better High)

My birthday is in December. Just once, it would be cool to have a birthday during a warm-weather month or at least far away from a month during which everyone spends all of their money. When I was in my twenties, I used to think about the perfect day for my birthday and try to make it happen. I would do a few things that I love doing in December, like sleeping late, reading, and keeping my body temperature normal. And thenI’d visit my favorite restaurant at night. Over the years, I’ve expanded this concept of the “best day.” I’ve added ideas from friends, family and my audience members to come up with the best natural high day for each season. I’ve tried to make my list include experiences and items of all price ranges, from “free” to“great if money was no object.” I’ll admit the list is biased toward places that I’ve visited—they’re just too great to leave out. Hopefully my list will encourage you to consider your list.

Best Day: Summer

Location: Anywhere near the water—lake or ocean. My Favorite Spot is Ocean City, New Jersey (great waves, tons of stuff to do)!

1. Wake up late and get in the water (with a friend or someonewatching, of course). There are few things that will change how you feel faster than jumping into water first thing in the morning.

2. Make yourself some killer brunch food like chocolate chippancakes or a California omelet with avocado and tomatoes.

3. Go to the gym, ride a bike, or take a nap.

4. In the afternoon, get to the beach with friends and, of course,spend more time in the water. Try a new water sport, like skim boarding, bodysurfing or tubing.

5. Read, throw a football, sit on the beach or just stare at the water.

6. Have a summer romance.

7. End the day by grabbing a sweatshirt, sitting on the sand, andwatching the sunset. At the lake, it’s amazing watching the fishfeeding off the hatching bugs and at the ocean, it’s great to watch the water calm down.

8. Eat on the beach or get out on the town for a great meal. Nomatter where you are, in my opinion fresh summer tomatoes should be involved.

9. After dinner, go out people-watching. Walking the boardwalkor around town is a great way to enjoy the parade of all kinds of folks having fun.

10. Ice cream! My personal recommendations: Kohr’s Custard(Ocean City, New Jersey), Ben & Jerry’s (Cape Cod, Massachusetts),or if you’re landlocked, Ted Drewes (St. Louis, Missouri)and Graeters (Cincinnati, Ohio).