A deafening silence filled the gymnasium and auditorium last week as former NBA Star Chris Herren spoke with students and parents about how he wished someone – whether his parents or friends – would have “told on him” during his early years of drinking and drugging in high school.
Students didn’t make a peep as they were mesmerized by Herren’s story that detailed his fantasy like rise in the NBA as he abused drugs and alcohol. Herren spoke honestly about his family and high school days and the reckless effect “just drinking and smoking” had on his NBA career. Students listened intently as he talked openly about bullying and the destructive effect it has on fellow classmates – especially when they make fun of each other in class, on Facebook, and even post pictures on Instagram. Herren explained how he now lives his life with hope – the hope of reaching just one person and making an impact in their life so they know that is it never too late to start a new chapter in their life.
Addressing parents, Herren did not shy away from talking bluntly about the irony of keeping kids “safe in your basement with red solo cups” and permitting them to drink alcohol in their home. He told parents “I asked your children earlier, why aren’t you satisfied with being yourself on a Friday or Saturday night? Why do you have to change who you are to fit in?” Herren provided harrowing details about his journey from addiction to sobriety including his early high school years of “just drinking and smoking blunts” to the introduction of the “$20 Oxy” pill from his neighborhood “friend”. Herren concluded the event fielding questions from the audience and sharing that he is drug-free and alcohol-free since August 1, 2008 and has refocused his life to put his sobriety and family above all else.
Sponsored by the Manhasset Booster Club, Manhasset SCA and CASA, Herren’s presentation kicked off Manhasset CASA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” Campaign which focusses on empowering parents to talk to their children early—as early as 9 years old—about the many risks associated with underage drinking. For information about the campaign or becoming a member of Manhasset CASA, please contact them at 267-7548 or go to their website at Manhassetcasa.org. You can also like CASA on Facebook!