Former NBA Player Chris Herron Raises Awareness About the Dangers of Addiction to Residents of the P
HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Opioid addiction continues to tear apart homes throughout the entire country. Former NBA point guard for the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, Chris Herron, knows this story all too well. Herron shared his experiences of overcoming addiction with Pine Belt residents at the USM Thad Cochran Center, Tuesday night.
Herron, a once promising basketball star, watched his future and his dreams burn right in front of his very own eyes.
“There’s a point and time in my life when I overdosed for the fourth time, I truly believed I’d never make it,” Herron explained.
From playing on the same basketball court against players like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and living his dream by becoming a Boston Celtic. Herron says addiction robbed him of everything.
Herron started his addiction as a high school freshmen when would sneak and drink his father's beers and even smoke marijuana. Eventually, by the age of 33 Herron would go on to try OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, heroin, cocaine, and crystal meth.
“It’s life or death,” Herron stated. “Many people suffer from it, and many people will suffer because of it.”
After, breaking his battle with addiction on Aug. 1, 2008, Herron now travels the country warning people about the deadly dangers of addiction.
“There's a lot of strength in struggle, and I was able to find that. So, if I can pass that to someone else that's what it's all about,” Herron said.
Drug overdoses kill more Americans each year than both car crashes and gun related homicides, and most overdoses come from opioids. In 2017, more than 200 Mississippians died from a drug overdose related to opioids, which ultimately prompted to the state to bring in more speakers like Herron.
“Opioid abuse and addiction are prevalent in our county,” the administrator for Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, Debbie Sanford said. “It's also has impacted our state and us locally here in the Pine Belt. A lot of people have problems with addiction and we've seen many overdoses in the area as well.”
One USM women basketball player described Herron’s story as a wakeup call for many people in the community.
“It's heartbreaking and no one wants to go through that, and no one really understands how important awareness to this drug addiction is,” the center for USM’s women’s basketball, Kyle Felton said. “It's okay to have a good time, it’s okay to have fun, but you need to know when to stop. There's always a time and place to do everything.”
Herron says he does these kinds of speeches in hopes of saving a least one person. However, he always aims to save as many as he possibly can.
“I was given an unbelievable gift and someone took the time to extend their hand and offer to pick me up, and I wanted to give that back,” Herron explained.
Now, Herron gives back by delivering 250 speeches a year, educating people about the deadly disease called addiction. Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services wants to remind people to only take opioids and other prescription medicines as prescribed.