Former NBA player Chris Herren will speak about his struggle with substance abuse and his 15-year recovery at Weber Middle School on Wednesday.
Herren, who began his NBA career in 1993 with the Denver Nuggets, started using cocaine and then developed an addiction to painkillers that eventually evolved into a heroin addiction.
Following a successful high school basketball career in Massachusetts, Herren attended Boston College, but failed a drug test before his first game.
Finishing his college career, which was plagued by multiple drug test failures, at Fresno State in California, Herren was drafted by the Nuggets.
After a stint playing in European basketball leagues, Herren began using crystal meth and overdosed and crashed his car into a utility pole.
In 2008, Herren stopped abusing and “refocused his life to put his sobriety and family about all else,” according to a news release from the school district.
He will speak to the Port Washington students at 7 p.m., and the event is open to the Port Washington community.
Herren will speak to Port Washington students in grades 8 to 12 earlier in the day at a special assembly.
“Chris Herren’s rise, fall and rebound can serve as an inspiration to us all,” said Stephanie Joannon, Port Washington director of physical education, health and athletics, who also co-chairs the Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force. “Young people face so many challenges, including peer pressure. It’s important to provide them with true-to-life moments that will stay with them and help them make the right choices in life.”
Herren formed the Herren Project, which provides assistance and substance-abuse education to people struggling with addiction, in 2011.
Herren was the subject of the ESPN 30 for 30 film “Unguarded” in 2011, which chronicled the rise and fall of his basketball career and his drug use, and a book “Fall River Dreams,” published in 2013.
He regularly speaks to high school students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, and has spoken at Manhasset High School and Herricks High School.
“The Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force has brought another valuable program to our community for the benefit of our children,” Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Mooney said. “While young people can be impressionable, they have also shown us that they can make smart life decisions when presented with the facts. Mr. Herren’s testimony can help guide them on that path.”
The event was put together by the Port Washington Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force and the Port Washington School District.