School assemblies addressing drug abuse are nothing new, but Franklin County Technical School added a twist to get their students attention.
A former basketball star from the Bay State detailed his life in front of a packed gym Friday afternoon.
Chris Herren's fall from stardom is well-documented and he does not shy away from the topic.
Last year alone, he spoke to 150,000 high school students.
"It was a 14-year nightmare," said Herren.
With the entire student body listening to what he had to say, the Fall River native meticulously detailed his life.
"I often tell people I was a professional drug addict more than a professional basketball player," Herren stated.
Herren dominated high school basketball. He was the Boston Globe's Player of the Year from 1992 to 1994. When he arrived as a freshman at Boston College, he began using cocaine.
"Then it went to opiates and painkillers for a few years," said Herren. "Then it switched over to heroin."
Herren was kicked out of B.C. and spent a couple of seasons at Fresno State. He reached the NBA and even played for the Boston Celtics, but by that point, it did not matter.
"I saw the effect it was having on my family and myself," Herren stated. "So there really was not much time to worry about the basketball side of it."
Administrators at FCTS hope Herren's message will be just as strong as the addiction that took down his career.
"Here is somebody who had millions of dollars coming his way and yet the addiction was stronger than those millions of dollars," said Rick Martin, FCTS principal. "That is a powerful message for these kids to hear."
Herren has given lectures at many levels, including pro sports teams such as the New England Patriots. But, he gets the most enjoyment from taking his speeches to high school gyms across the country.
"They seem to be affected by the story more so than kids in college," said Herren. "I believe I can have a greater impact at this age group."
Herren said he has been drug and alcohol free since Aug. 1, 2008.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:28 AM EDT2013-06-19 10:28:50 GMT
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