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Drug Awareness Efforts in Sharon Features Former Boston Celtic Chris Herren

Chris Herren speaks at Sharon High School
Chris Herren speaks at Sharon High School
The popularity of prescription drugs and pills is rising and the Sharon Educational Foundation is not going to stand by any longer.

As Tara Goodwin Fier, a member of the Sharon Education Fund told the Boston Globe, there have been 4-5 deaths in the past two years in Sharon believed to be linked to opiate addiction, a number that is 4-5 deaths too many.

To help raise awareness of the dangers of prescription medicine and pills, the foundation has started a year-long effort to show the effects of addiction. One of the first events was a talk from former NBA player and Fall River Chris Herren whose battles with addiction have become well known.

On Thursday afternoon, Herren spoke at an assembly at Sharon High School before returning for a second event for the public later than evening.

The ex-Celtic and Denver Nugget, who has been sober since 2008, goes around the country telling his story as a warning to anyone thinking of abusing drugs and alcohol. A once promising basketball star out of Durfee High School, Herren spent his entire college and professional career battling drug addiction with pills, cocaine, and heroine.

No longer using drugs, he now wants to make sure that no one else makes the same mistakes he thought he was capable of avoiding.

"I thought, 'my daddy is a politician, we have three cars, we drink and smoke on the weekend, I'll never be that guy'" Herren told the audience inside the Sharon High School auditorium. 

For those who feel the need to drink and use drugs at a young age, Herren had one question, one that was asked to Sharon High School students earlier in the day.

"What is it about you that on a Friday or Saturday night being you is not enough?" Herren asked. "Your kids got real uncomfortable because they can identify that alcohol and weed help them get though it but why do you need it?"

The district attorney's office has also seen the increase in drug overdoses at an alarming rate since D.A. Michael Morrissey took office in 2011.

"We don't see a lot of homicides, what I do see is that not one community in Norfolk County is immune to drug overdoses," Morrissey told the crowd. "I hit the 40s in the first year, I hit the 50s the second year, right now we're just under 60 at 55." 

Despite the pain of addiction, the chance to save others has given Herren a silver lining when it comes to his life. After a recent visit to another school, Herren received an email from a student saying that her and her boyfriend were ready to commit suicide but his story gave them enough hope to keep living.

"It's emails like that that makes losing everything almost worth it," Herren said.

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