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Former NBA player Chris Herren brings his story of addiction, recovery to Bel Air Wednesday

Former NBA player Chris Herren, whose struggle with substance abuse has been the subject of a well received book and ESPN's film "Unguarded," will speak at John Carroll School in Bel Air Wednesday evening in a program co-sponsored by the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy.
Former NBA player Chris Herren, whose struggle with substance abuse has been the subject of a well received book and ESPN's film "Unguarded," will speak at John Carroll School in Bel Air Wednesday evening in a program co-sponsored by the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy. (Provided photo / Baltimore Sun)

As a high school basketball star who became a point guard for the Boston Celtics, Chris Herren's dreams of playing in the NBA had seemingly come true.

In reality, Herren was trapped in a nightmare of addiction to alcohol, cocaine, OxyContin and heroin. His descent into addiction, the loss of his career and his miraculous recovery is the subject of his book, "Basketball Junkie," and the ESPN Films documentary "Unguarded."

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Herren, who has been drug and alcohol-free since Aug. 1, 2008, will share his inspiring story in person at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, at John Carroll School, 703 Churchville Road in Bel Air.

This free presentation, entitled "Rebound," is open to the public and hosted by the Harford County Community Services Office of Drug Control Policy in partnership with the Nikki Perlow Foundation.

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"Chris Herren is living proof that addiction can strike anyone, but there is hope, and healing is possible," Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said in a statement. "I encourage all citizens to attend this free presentation so that we can learn from Chris' victory in the battle against substance abuse."

Space is limited and registration is strongly encouraged to ensure available seating. To register, email odcp@harfordcountymd.gov or call 410-638-3389.

As of Monday morning, 800 people had registered to hear Herren speak, Harford County government spokesperson Cindy Mumby said.

Herren, 40, grew up in Massachusetts and started his college career at Boston College as a much hyped freshman and a McDonald's All-American, but he also was already having drug abuse issues.

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After a season ending injury early in his freshman year, he left BC for Fresno State, where he was an all-conference player two years and fifth in the county in assists his senior season, according to his website Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren.

He was a early second round pick of the Denver Nuggets, 33rd overall, in the 1999 NBA draft and played a season with the Nuggets and another with the Celtics. Cut after the 2000-01 season, he played several years professionally in Italy, Turkey, China, Germany, Iran and Poland.

The Nikki Perlow Foundation offers aid to young adults and their families struggling with drug addiction and recovery by providing financial, logistical and emotional support throughout their journey.

The Harford County Community Services Office of Drug Control Policy is the leading substance abuse prevention agency in Harford County. Anyone in need of help fighting addiction is encouraged to call 410-638-3333.

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