NBA player brings message on substance abuse to schools
Local anti-substance abuse coalitions Tualatin Together and Tigard Turns the Tide will bring former National Basketball Association player Chris Herren and his THP Project Purple Initiative to Tualatin and Tigard high schools on March 5 and 6.
The event is supported by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon.
Herren played for the Denver Nuggets and the Boston Celtics before losing his career to the disease of addiction. He now is an advocate for sobriety and will speak to students at both schools about his career-long battle with drug use — which began in high school —and what it took to turn his life around.
Herren's story was told in the book "," and the release of the Emmy-nominated ESPN Films documentary "Unguarded."
"It's hard to get kids to pay attention to anti-substance abuse messages, but we have to do everything we can," said Cyndy Hillier, executive director of Tualatin Together, a coalition of students, parents and engaged community leaders who are dedicated to making Tualatin a safe and healthy place to grow up. "Chris Herren is one of those voices who can break through and make a difference in these kids' lives, and we could not have brought him here without Regence."
Kerry Bendel, Regence's chief pharmacy officer, said Herren's message is an important one. "High schoolers face incredible pressures in their daily lives: academic, athletic, social. Substance abuse is not a way to cope, and it takes a lot of guts to say 'no.'"
Herren's appearance will serve as the kick-off for both schools'' "Going Purple" campaign, or committing to the principles of the THP Project Purple Initiative, which are to create awareness about the epidemic of substance use and encourage teens to stand up to drugs and alcohol.
Herren will speak at two student assemblies:
• Tigard High School on Monday, 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 5.
• Tualatin High School, 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 6.
The community also is invited to hear him speak at 7 p.m., Monday, March 5, at Tualatin High School. This event is free and appropriate for children middle school aged and older. Register for a spot at http://chrisherrenlive.eventbrite.com.
Tualatin Together and Tigard Turns the Tide are local coalitions with state and federal funding, which to raise awareness, provide education and advocate for the health and safety of youths in the communities.
For more information about Tualatin Together, visit tualatintogether.com.
For more information about Tigard Turns the Tide, visit tigardturnsthetide.org.