Former NBA Star Chris Herren Talks to Aroostook County Teens

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 10:25 AM EST
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CARIBOU, Maine (WAGM) -

Former NBA Star Chris Herren was in Caribou, speaking to high schoolers and the public about the dangers of substance use. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has more on why he has changed his presentation over the years.

1,500 9th and 10th Graders from nearly every school in Aroostook County gathered Wednesday to hear the words of Chris Herren, the former Boston Celtics Point Guard who’s career was derailed by his struggle with substance use. Herren was brought here as part of a new prevention program by AMHC.

“We’re very fortunate to receive a health resources and services administration grant here at AMHC, that grant has allowed us to bring a prevention program to Aroostook County, and what we really wanted to do was do something post covid, so we were very fortunate to organize and gather all the schools in Aroostook County that we could to be here and get to see a great presenter like Chris Herren.” says Erik Lamoreau – Project Coordinator, AMHC

Herren’s approach is to show teens how addiction came to gain a stranglehold on his life. He has been speaking for 10 years, giving more than 200 talks in schools and communities every year.

“In the last decade of doing this I realized about halfway through that we put so much energy into the worst day and we forget the first day and I think the way we present addiction to our children, I think is extreme. I think it’s safe for moms and dads to put my documentary on and say “Look how horrible his life became” rather than talking about the beginning, so I pivoted about 5 years ago and started talking about the first day and not the worst day and what we’ve seen over the years is such a transition of kids reaching out for help.” says Herren.

Herren started out by playing a 30 minute documentary of his story, providing the kids with his backstory prior to coming on stage and sharing more.

“I honestly don’t know what you expected walking in here, but I really hope you think of your story. I really, truly hope that kids are going to walk out of here and think about the kid you’re becoming.”

“My goal is that one kid goes back to their school and talks to a counselor and lets them know what they’re struggling with, that one kid has a friend that’s going to intervene. If I can create any type of energy or conversation towards self care, then it’s a win.”

In addition Herren held a presentation for the general public Tuesday evening and says he’s impressed at Aroostook Counties efforts towards recovery.

“It’s just amazing that the recovery community here is thriving and to be part of that last night was something really special.”

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8