VIENNA, W.Va. (WTAP) - 8/28/2019
He drew hundreds when he spoke in the area two and a half years ago.
Now, a former high school basketball star is returning to speak about addiction.
Chris Herren will visit Parkersburg High School next Tuesday night, to deliver his message about treatment and recovery.
He founded the non-profit Herren Project, helping both students and families through the recovery process.
Jason Wharton, Circuit Judge and Wood County Drug Court Judge, says the addiction crisis is a problem the local court system faces every day.
"Not just in the criminal cases, but in the abuse and neglect cases, the adoption cases, the guardianship cases," Judge Wharton says. "We're seeing substance abuse issues across the board. So, if we can bring someone in to add to the prevention component, we think that's a really important role that we can step into, as the court system.
Herren's address begins at 7 P.M., September 2, at the PHS Memorial Fieldhouse. It is sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Valley Adult Drug Court.
Back in the '90s, Chris Herren was a basketball superstar in the small town of Fork River, Massachusetts. His talent took him all the way to the NBA.
It seemed like he had it all, until drugs overtook his success and left him fighting for his life. Now, he travels the country, hoping to stop young people from falling into the same trap.
Herren was a freshman at Boston College when he tried cocaine for the first time.
"You know, you try something and you think it'll be just one time and that one time takes 14 years to walk away from. I mean there's people that try cocaine and they never come back. There's nothing social about doing drugs like that," said Herren.
He told the audience about his four overdoses and how he once flat-lined for 30 seconds. He says it's always difficult to share such intimate details about his past, but says he feels it's his responsibility to try and stop someone from going down the same path.
"You know, I think sometimes when you struggle, you feel you're alone and you're the only out there feeling the way you feel. I think it's important to share this and to kind of break down the stigma of it. If people can see me and say, "You know, it happened to him." It happens to a lot of people," he said.
Herren says he hurt the ones he loved most with his drug addiction.
"Drugs not only affect the person who's struggling, it affects their whole family and friends. Everyone suffers around an addict," he said.
After many ups and downs, Herren has been sober since August 1, 2008.
"It's always a process, but one that I'm grateful for today because the one good thing about living in sobriety is you find the silver lining in a lot of stories and your past is the past," he said.