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William J. Ihlenfeld, II

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Chris Zumpetta-Parr, Public Affairs Specialist


April 23, 2014

Ex-NBA player Chris Herren
visits Ohio Valley

Herren speaks to Park, John Marshall students about dangers of drugs

WHEELING, WV – Former NBA player Chris Herren spoke to students at Wheeling Park High School and John Marshall High School today about the dangers of drugs and his personal battle with addiction.

Herren spoke to over 2,000 area students this morning about how substance abuse derailed his basketball career. The audiences at the schools learned that Herren was a high school All-American at Durfee High in Massachusetts before starring at Boston College and Fresno St. He went on to be drafted by the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, and then was traded to the Boston Celtics, where he played for several years. Herren described to students how his abuse of alcohol, cocaine, and then ultimately heroin nearly ended his life. He has been sober since 2008 and now tours the country speaking to young people about his struggles.

Herren, whose story was featured as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, took questions from the students at each school following his talk. He also posed for a special picture with the members of Drug Free Clubs of America at Wheeling Park and John Marshall.

Wheeling Park Principal Amy Minch discussed the importance of bringing in a speaker such as Herren to discuss substance abuse.

“We regularly educate our students about the perils of drugs but this takes it to a whole new level,” said Minch. “When someone like Chris Herren speaks the kids sit up and listen and that’s what we want.”

John Marshall Principal Rick Jones concurred.

“When this opportunity was presented to me I immediately signed on,” said Jones. “It’s my responsibility as an educator to seek out programs like this one so that our students continue to learn about what could happen to them if they make the wrong choice.”

The committee that organized and planned Herren’s visit was made up of representatives from the Marshall County Family Resource Network, the Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, John Marshall High School, Wheeling Park High School, Paree Insurance, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The cost of bringing Herren to the area was covered through donations from community partners of the event.

Herren’s visit is part of Project Future, a U.S. Attorney-led initiative designed to educate parents and children about the dangers of prescribed medicine, synthetic drugs, and other illegal drugs that are plaguing communities in West Virginia. Project Future is a year-round program and is available to all schools within the Northern District of West Virginia.

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