Former NBA player Chris Herren to talk drug addiction

herren-talkingFormer NBA star Chris Herren will share his struggles with substance abuse and his journey to sobriety during a presentation for parents at the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center, Burlington County Times reported.

Herren also will speak to the student bodies at all four district high schools during November and December, discussing the “compelling and unvarnished story of his struggles with substance abuse” and how he reached sobriety.

A basketball player from Fall River, Mass., Herren realized his dream to play for the NBA, only to lose it to addiction.

After playing 70 games from 1999-2001, Chris’ NBA career was over after a season ending knee injury. During his NBA career, Herren played 45 games for Denver Nuggets (averaging 3.1 ppg, 2.5 apg) and 25 games for Boston Celtics (3.3 ppg, 2.2 apg).

In total, Herren appeared in 70 NBA games, averaging 3.2 ppg, 2.4 apg in 14.4 minutes per contest. After being released by the Celtics, Herren went on to play professionally for teams in Italy, Poland, Turkey, China, and Iran.

He has since refocused his life to put his sobriety and family above all else, along with a mission to help others.

Herren has been drug- and alcohol-free since Aug. 1, 2008. He is the author of “Basketball Junkie” and a nationally known speaker on the issue.

He also has launched “Hope Dreams With Chris Herren”, a player-development company, and founded the Herren Project, a non-profit foundation that assists individuals and families struggling with addiction.

Superintendent Carol Birnbohm said Herren will give students and parents an opportunity to hear a first-person account of how substance abuse and addiction can destroy the career goals of someone who is gifted, talented and intelligent.

“Substance abuse is a serious threat in any community and to any type of student, including the ‘typical’ happy, well-adjusted, active high achiever,” Birnbohm said.

Research studies by organizations that include the National Institutes of Health and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse have found that substance abuse is a serious and growing problem among teens, including the use of prescription drugs and pain relievers in addition to illegal drugs and alcohol.

A new trend known as academic doping, the abuse of prescription stimulants by high-achieving students, has surged nationwide over the past two years, the school district noted.

The research shows that teens whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42 percent less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don’t. However, only a quarter of teens report having those conversations.

“We want every Lenape Regional District student and their parents to hear Chris Herren’s message and have those conversations with their children,” Birnbohm said. “As a parent, I’ll be at the Nov. 18 presentation and encourage every parent to join me that evening.”


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