Chris Herren opens up about addiction

Recently former NBA player Chris Herren opened up in an inspirational speech at Onondaga Community college about the effects drugs and alcohol had on his like and career. He started by saying, “This is extremely uncomfortable for me.” Although he does similar speeches like this about 250 times a year. For about two hour, Herren pleaded back the deep wounds created by his addiction and shared his life story with a crowd of strangers. Chris shares in some of his life experiences and its alcoholic background, drinking his Dad’s beer at age 14 for the first time.

When Boston Celtics executive and coach Rick Pitino (left) acquired Herren from Denver in 2000, it seemed like a local-hero-comes-home story, but Herren knew his drug problems were catching up to him. (Angela Rowlings/AP)From there, he goes on to share about his young adulthood and college days. Where he decided to go to college and more about his addiction. At age 18 he tried cocaine for the first time and let it continue into his collegiate career, ultimately getting him kicked off the BU basketball team and campus for failing multiple drug test. He then was offered a second chance at basketball playing for Jerry Tarkanian at Fresno State, where he still continued to use cocaine.

Chris shares in some of his life experiences and its alcoholic background, drinking his Dad’s beer at age 14 for the first time.

Although he was using he was still an especial athlete and somehow managed to make his way into the NBA team. In late 2002 after a season with the Denver Nuggets his addiction continued to progress. Herren tried his first Oxycotin tablet, which led him to spend 25,000 a month on pills alone. Soon after being hooked on the pills only 2 years later he tried heroin. By the age of 28 he has lost everything and for a 6 year span was know as a “street junkie” stealing anything for money, bouncing checks, even collecting cans and bottles for recycling, anything to feed his addiction.

Finally through a lot of divine intervention at age 32 Herren entered rehab paid for by St. Johns Coach Chris Mullin, but his stay in sobriety was short lived. After his then 9-year old son pleaded with him to stay, he still left the program and went out and got some vodka. Finally on Aug 1st 2008 Christ got sober and has been clean every since. But still his past haunts him and his family repeatedly. During a high school basketball game in which is 14 year old son was playing point guard. After a foul and free throw shots being taken the crown intending on mocking the young boy by chanting and shouting “HEROIN” at him. Instead of being angry or upset he simple went over to the crowd and said “there’s nothing funny about drugs.”

Where is he now?

Herren spends time doing educational/inspirational speeches to help people with the disease of addiction. He has gave his helping hand to many who suffer; including his own father who he was placed in a rehab 5 times.

Chris also has a nonprofit organization The Herren Project works with families and individuals to arrange and facilitate  quality treatment options for those suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. The Herren Project has helped thousands of families navigate the alcohol and drug treatment spectrum of care and has secured over $1 Million in quality rehabilitation services or after care for those suffering from substance abuse.

Its stories like this that make you release that addiction is a disease and no matter what background in life you have or success’ you have accomplished that disease can attack you or a loved one at any moment.


The Herren Project
Box 131
Portsmouth, RI 02871

P: 401-243-8590
F: 401-429-6158

E-Mail Addresses by Area of Focus:
General THP Information E-Mail: [email protected]
Treatment Navigation E-Mail: [email protected]
THP Project Purple Initiative E-Mail:[email protected]
Student Outreach E-Mail: [email protected]

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