Smithtown, NY - More than 500 students at Smithtown High School West received a firsthand lesson on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction from former NBA professional/European professional basketball player Chris Herren. The former high school basketball All-American spoke candidly about his personal struggles with peer pressure, drugs and alcohol and his personal crusade to encourage students to stay clean. Herren's appearance at the school, which was made possible by Smithtown High School West Assistant Principals and Council of Administrators and Supervisors (CAS) members Dan McCabe and Derek Solomon, along with English Teacher Lauren Belesi, was coordinated in conjunction with Smithtown School District's initiative against peer pressure and drug and alcohol use.
"We are happy we were able to arrange for Chris to visit our school and share his inspiring story with our students and staff," said Assistant Principal McCabe. "As building administrators, we are always educating parents and teachers about bullying and peer pressure. We also engage in direct intervention with our students so they can not only maintain a clean path but one in which they can proudly and confidently say no to drugs and alcohol, regardless of any situation they are in."
During his presentation, Herren, whose personal struggles with heroin and OxyContin were recently captured in the ESPN Documentary series, Unguarded, commented, "I define myself by what I am doing today. To help kids stay on a straight path. Peer pressure can lead you to do bad things. I urge you to be a real leader and have the capacity to say no. The choices you make today will make you. If you start drinking, smoking pot and experimenting, things will only get worse. Just say no and stay away."
While he warned students of the dangers of drugs and alcohol, Herren also offered some uplifting words of encouragement, "I know it's hard to see the big picture at a young age, but I am living proof that you become what you make of yourself."
About Chris Herren
A McDonald's All-American high school basketball player, former Boston College and Fresno State basketball player, as well as former NBA and European basketball player, Chris Herren has transcended from the pitfalls of drug addition since finding sobriety in 2008 after completing comprehensive rehabilitation programs. Actively warning youth about the dangers of drug and alcohol, Herren dedicates his time as an avid drug and alcohol prevention motivational speaker and advocate. His career on and off the court is documented in a new book that Herren wrote and released in May 2011 entitled Basketball Junkie: A Memoir. His struggles with drugs and alcohol were recently documented in the ESPN Documentary series, Unguarded.
About Council of Administrators and Supervisors (CAS)
The Council of Administrators and Supervisors (CAS) is the largest professional organization of school administrators and supervisors on Long Island including Principals, Assistant Principals, Supervisors, Department Chairs and Directors. For over 40 years, CAS has vigorously protected the legal rights and serves the professional interests of school building administrators on Long Island. For more information about CAS, visit: www.essaa.org/index.php/regions/region-1-long-island-cas.