Through its substance abuse awareness initiative Be A Part of the Conversation, Hatboro-Horsham High School is bringing addiction out of the closet and into the mainstream with help from a recovering addict and former NBA star.
Chris Herren, a standout basketball star who had played for the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets - all while abusing heroin, painkillers and cocaine - will share his harrowing story of addiction to recovery at Hatboro-Horsham High School on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9.
"Bringing somebody like Chris Herren, who is so real in his presentation, wlll help people to understand that much more that it can be anyone," Kim Rubenstein, the parent liaison for Be A Part of the Conversation. "You can watch how somebody almost loses his children … The drugs were that powerful."
The latter caught the attention of Hatboro-Horsham High School Principal Dennis Williams who recognized the importance of the message Herren could share with students, parents and the community.
"He had teachers and other friends saying 'oh my God, you need to bring this guy to the high school," Rubenstein said.
Herren has been drug- and alcohol-free since Aug. 1, 2008 and has traveled to schools, prisons and rehab centers to share his message, which, according to Rubenstein, has little to do with sports.
"He’s not there to talk about basketball," Rubenstein said. "He’s there to talk about having every opportunity, having a loving supportive family and this still happened."
Since launching Be A Part of the Conversation in May 2011, the school district, through the initiative, has hosted discussions with treatment center representatives, launched a spinoff weekly Parent Partnership meeting, put on a substance abuse play last year andsurveyed students about drug and alcohol use.
"This is probably the most mainstream thing we’ve done so far," Rubenstein said. "It just felt right because of the way he appears to reach young people. He doesn’t preach."
If you go
Chris Herren will speak at Hatboro-Horsham High School on Jan. 8 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and tickets are not needed. Herren's presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. The event is not recommended for children under 13. For more information, see the event listing on Patch's events calendar by clicking here.
Herren will speak to all Hatboro-Horhsam High School students on Jan. 9 at 9 a.m. during an hour-long school-wide assembly. Students will then have the opportunity to attend a talk back during directed study to help "process" what they heard during the discussion, Rubenstein said.
The focus of the Jan. 10 Parent Partnership meeting is to debrief attendees on the Herren discussion.