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Ex-NBA Star to Share Addiction Woes at H-H

Former Boston Celtics player Chris Herren will speak at Hatboro-Horsham High School on Jan. 8.

Through its substance abuse awareness initiative Be A Part of the Conversation, Hatboro-Horsham High School is bringing addiction out of the closet and into the mainstream with help from a recovering addict and former NBA star. 

Chris Herren, a standout basketball star who had played for the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets - all while abusing heroin, painkillers and cocaine - will share his harrowing story of addiction to recovery at Hatboro-Horsham High School on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9.

"Bringing somebody like Chris Herren, who is so real in his presentation, wlll help people to understand that much more that it can be anyone," Kim Rubenstein, the parent liaison for Be A Part of the Conversation. "You can watch how somebody almost loses his children … The drugs were that powerful."

Herren, who has written a memoir, "Basketball Junkie," detailing his battle with drugs and alcohol, was also the subject of an ESPN documentary, "Unguarded."

The latter caught the attention of Hatboro-Horsham High School Principal Dennis Williams who recognized the importance of the message Herren could share with students, parents and the community.

"He had teachers and other friends saying 'oh my God, you need to bring this guy to the high school," Rubenstein said. 

Herren has been drug- and alcohol-free since Aug. 1, 2008 and has traveled to schools, prisons and rehab centers to share his message, which, according to Rubenstein, has little to do with sports.

"He’s not there to talk about basketball," Rubenstein said. "He’s there to talk about having every opportunity, having a loving supportive family and this still happened."

Since launching Be A Part of the Conversation in May 2011, the school district, through the initiative, has hosted discussions with treatment center representatives, launched a spinoff weekly Parent Partnership meeting, put on a substance abuse play last year andsurveyed students about drug and alcohol use.

"This is probably the most mainstream thing we’ve done so far," Rubenstein said. "It just felt right because of the way he appears to reach young people. He doesn’t preach."

If you go

Chris Herren will speak at Hatboro-Horsham High School on Jan. 8 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and tickets are not needed. Herren's presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. The event is not recommended for children under 13. For more information, see the event listing on Patch's events calendar by clicking here.

Herren will speak to all Hatboro-Horhsam High School students on Jan. 9 at 9 a.m. during an hour-long school-wide assembly. Students will then have the opportunity to attend a talk back during directed study to help "process" what they heard during the discussion, Rubenstein said. 

The focus of the Jan. 10 Parent Partnership meeting is to debrief attendees on the Herren discussion.

Michael Carr January 08, 2013 at 03:37 PM
A college star is still not an NBA star. He was , in fact , a scrub who kept the bench from floating away. For HH foundation to discribe him as a "ex-NBA" is hyperbole at best and a lie at the worst. Just too much self promotion and garbage being promoted by the foundation. I will give you that he did play 2 years but the 70 ganes played and the meager 3.2 ppg average does not make him an "NBA Star". What he did in college and high school is irrelavent to that statement.
Theresa Katalinas January 08, 2013 at 06:09 PM
I think the point is being missed here. "Star" or not, someone with notoriety is coming to Hatboro-Horsham High School to share with the community the impact substance abuse has had on his life. Period.
Cora Rowe January 08, 2013 at 06:23 PM
In my book anyone making an NBA team is a star. I'm sure there are many athletes keeping the benches from floating away. Only so many people can be of superstar status. Really sounds like jealousy to me. If we tell our kids they have to be a Michael Jordan to be a star, that just sets up people for failure and low self esteem and with that many problems like substance abuse. Some of us need to think before we speak!
Bob January 08, 2013 at 06:32 PM
How much does this star get paid for his appearance? Will he sell his book for $35.00 like on his website, or will he sell it for the amazon price of $10.00? He also sells T-shirts for $20-30. Will he charge PA sales tax on his gear?
European American. January 08, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Blame the docs and insurance companies. Docs get a kickback from the manufacturers for prescribing their drugs. And people sell those pills because they have a very high street value. It's a shame but that's how it is. And it's not just painkillers. I'm in my 30s but I've heard teens are buying ADD meds and stuff like that. I'd be too afraid of that kind of stuff. These kids get hooked on pain pills than move onto heroin because its essentially the same high for much cheaper. It's sad.

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