Former Celtics player talks in Longmeadow about drug addiction - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Former Celtics player talks in Longmeadow about drug addiction

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It was an emotional night at Longmeadow High School on Monday, when former NBA player and recovering addict Chris Herren shared his story to a sold out, standing room only auditorium.

Herren is known as a basketball legend in Fall River, Mass. where he went on to become a star at Fresno State and later, drafted into the NBA, playing for the Denver Nuggets and the Boston Celtics.

Tonight, in Longmeadow, he shared what he calls his "nightmare," his story of when he became addicted to drugs and struggled for 14 years with the disease.

Herren became sober in 2008 and now shares his story about 250 days a year, traveling around the country, hoping to change at least one person's life.

Tonight in Longmeadow, his story was heard.

"There's an epidemic obviously," Shelly Warren, Longmeadow High School's substance abuse response coordinator, said. "Longmeadow's not been immune to that, people in this community are touched by it. It's an equal opportunity disease. We just don't talk about it publicly as often."

But, Chris Herren is talking and tonight it was to that sold out crowd thanks to a student organization at the school, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). One of their members, Lily O'Connor, said they saw Herren speak last year at the Basketball Hall of Fame and found a way to bring him to their school this year to spread his story.

"This is like someone who people have heard of and look up to, he's from Massachusetts and his story is so hard hitting that it's really important to hear," O'Connor said.

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