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Pro Athlete Discusses Drug Addiction

Chris Herren spoke about the effects drug use had on his life and basketball career to 600 students at Washingtonville High School. (photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)

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Chris Herren spoke about the effects drug use had on his life and basketball career to 600 students at Washingtonville High School. (photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)

By Eugenia Moskowitz

The Washingtonville High School auditorium was packed with 600 sophomores and juniors on Dec. 11 for a special presentation on drug use and its impact on one man’s life.

The students’ initial fidgeting and giggling quieted as the ESPN documentary “Unguarded” started, followed by rapt silence and some girls wiping away tears when it was over and Chris Herren himself walked out and took the microphone.

Herren was a high school basketball player from Fall River, Mass. who in the 1990s carried the hopes and dreams of his working-class town on his shoulders. Featured in Sports Illustrated, he went to Fresno State University at the same time he was in the newspapers for cocaine use. His drug use escalated even while his athleticism rose, which to him justified the drugs even though he knew professional recruiters would see him as high risk. By age 21 he attended his first rehab and then went back to Fresno State, watched like a hawk by his coaches. “But no matter how much they watched me,” he said, “it was me who wasn’t watching me, it was me who still needed ‘that something’ to make me what I thought I wasn’t, not just in basketball but in life. Something in me was missing.”

Read the Friday, Dec. 18 edition of the Orange County Post for the complete story. 

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