By Alyssa Francis
Red Lion Senior High held an assembly in regard to the ongoing heroin epidemic. Former athlete, Chris Herren, came and told his story in front of the students and staff on April 3rd. His story has impacted many people and expresses the major damages addiction can bring.
Chris Herren was a rising basketball star, on his way to becoming a professional player before drugs swept away his career. He was first 18 when his college roommate pressured him into snorting cocaine. Weeks later, Herren fell, broke his wrist, tested positive for drugs, then was kicked off the team.
Chris was grateful when he was given a second chance to play the following year. “I was living a double life,” said Herren referring to balancing basketball and partying.
Chris described what drugs he used before stepping into the arena winning the games. The following Monday before their championship game, he tested positive for drugs.
The next chapter of Chris’s life was when he started training for the NBA draft. He was accepted at Denver and he described it as the healthiest year of his life. When the season was over, he went home to his wife and kids. That is when drugs took over his life again.
Chris tried oxycontin with no idea the power of the drug, and was instantly hooked. He used to wait outside in the rain for his dealer to arrive before his games. No one knew of his addiction, he tried to hide it from everyone.
When Herren’s dealer ran out of oxycontin, he tried heroin. He then crashed his car into a pole due to an overdose. While in the hospital, he died for 30 seconds and was brought back to life. The Police found needles and arrested him.
Chris then started his road to recovery by entertaining two different rehabilitation programs. Forty-five days into rehab, his wife went into labor and Herren was given permission to leave. After she gave birth, Herren went to the liquor store. When he came back, she told him he couldn’t be around anymore. He didn’t return to his family for almost a year.
Students became emotional during the assembly. “From personal experience, drugs can ruin a family,” said Senior Maddie Moore. “Listening to his story reminded me of my own and it was difficult to listen to without being reminded of certain things.”
Chris’s story brought students to tears and inspired others. “I started crying. He had so much going for him,” said Senior Michaela Old. “I’ve witnessed the effects it takes on my friends and family, I don’t want that for them.”
Chris Herren now runs a nonprofit organization to assist families who are affected by drugs. He teaches basketball and shares his story across the country. He does this to change children’s minds and attitudes.
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