Somerset County News

From Basement Beer to Shooting Heroin: NBA’s Chris Herren Challenges Community to Ask Why

13e36873b64ae66dc153_758EEE14-3184-4D2B-906F-C48A0F423303.jpeg
Chris Herren Challenges Warren and the Watchung Hills Community to Ask Why Credits: B. Nemcek
79b1739a64c64a1041dc_C2AFF9EB-6EA8-43E8-90A2-1629F6FA0359.jpeg
Chris Herren Challenges Warren and the Watchung Hills Community to Ask Why Credits: B. Nemcek
272961d8dbd8329702a6_F9947D98-7F42-4832-92D7-B5598C8AA651.jpeg
Chris Herren Challenges Warren and the Watchung Hills Community to Ask Why (Herren with WHRHS teachers Lori and Justin Salton) Credits: B. Nemcek
75bae24b643c8d4e52f8_BA5C92B2-3698-44C0-AB91-428B2F6286D0.jpeg
Chris Herren Challenges Warren and the Watchung Hills Community to Ask Why (Herren with WHRHS Coach Salton- Steven Bressler and Dan Pilsbury look on) Credits: B. Nemcek
13e36873b64ae66dc153_758EEE14-3184-4D2B-906F-C48A0F423303.jpeg

WARREN, NJ - It’s not about the end, it’s about the beginning. That’s what Chis Herren wants us to focus on. Not the end of the road with the junkie with a needle in his arm, but on the 14,15, 16 and 17 year old kids drinking in their parent’s basements on a Friday night- where it all starts, he said.

Herren spoke to parents and kids at Watchung Hills on Wednesday, Jan. 10. The three co-captains of the Watchung Hills boys basketball team, Steven Bressler, Mike Hopwood, and Dan Pilsbury, introduced him.

Sign Up for E-News

Herren challenged parents in the audience to ask their kids the “why.” Because, he said, it’s all about self esteem and self worth. Why do your children not feel comfortable in their own skin? 

He also challenged educators to include wellness education in the classroom. 

Now alcohol and drug-free since August 2008, Herren has been on the road. The kid who was called a truly special athlete fell to drug addiction, ruining his career and nearly his life.

He overdosed four times. The last time, he said Narcan was administered three times before he was revived.

From Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts to the Boston Garden to the streets, Herren was a 1994 McDonald's All-American, played basketball for Boston College and was drafted by the Denver Nuggets, later ending up with the Boston Celtics.

He recalled a childhood with a father who drank heavily, and a mother who had to smell the breath of stale alcohol every day of her married life. Herren broke a childhood promise and became a drinker himself opening and drinking one of his father’s Miller Lites at 14 years old and burying the evidence in his backyard. 

On June 4, 2008, a friend offered him four free bags of heroin.

He shot up all four bags in his car. He felt himself overdosing because he knew the feeling and told himself he didn’t want to die there. He was found miles away after crashing into a cemetery gate, non-responsive, not breathing, in effect, dead.

At the hospital, the basketball star was just another junkie to the doctors and nurses but the police officer, there to take him away in handcuffs, instead took off the handcuffs and gave him a summons instead. He told Herren he looked up to him as a child and wanted him to promise to get help and show up in court in 30 days. 

In the first row on Wednesday night sat Warren’s police chief, Bill Keane, other members of the department, and the Somerset County Prosecutor, Michael Robertson, all who have seen the effects of drug addiction.

Herren high fiving Robertson after the program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nurse, who knew Herren’s mother, called him back and offered to help find treatment for him. But no treatment center wanted Chris Herren - a junkie with no way to pay.

Herren said he remembers thinking the nightmare could only end by sticking a pistol in his mouth and blowing his head off.

Chris Mullin, a college and NBA standout who also battled addiction and a mentor of Herren’s, found a bed for him in a treatment center in New York and gifted him a six month stay. 

Today, Herren is living a sober life and can look himself in the mirror and most of the time likes what he sees, he said. He is a father committed to his wife of almost 20 years and to his children- 18 years old, 16 years old and 9 years old. His older son and daughter are teens now. He says at this point in their lives it’s still an IF, but he would only ask one question to his children if they were drinking or taking drugs,” why?"

 

Of the program, audience members said:

“Unforgettable”

“It was great!! Amazing speaker, amazing story! So many kids were there Middle and HS I was glad!”

“Chris was fantastic ♥️👏👏👏”

“Awesome!!!!”

REBOUND: The Chris Herren Story was hosted jointly by the Watchung Hills Regional Municipal Alliance, the Township of Warren, the Warren Township Police Department and the Watchung Hills Board of Education.

An ESPN 30 for 30 documentary titled, "Unguarded," tells Herren’s story and through his organization, The Herren Project, he tries to benefit others by telling his story across the country.

 

About The Herren Project

Founded in 2011, The Herren Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation established by former NBA basketball player, Chris Herren, that assists individuals and families struggling with addiction. It's mission is to provide assistance in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety, educational programs and resources to increase awareness on the signs of addiction through Go Project Purple and bring hope for a better tomorrow. Goals: Positively impact the lives of those suffering with addiction by providing effective treatment navigation. Educate youth and at-risk populations on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and provide techniques to handle pressure within their lives, their community or their family situation. Provide scholarships to programs, clinics and camps to increase self confidence, motivation and develop a firm foundation on which to build success.

http://www.theherrenproject.org/

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Environmental Victory – Transco Withdraws NESE Pipeline Application to DEP

June 21, 2018

In a small victory for the environment, Transco withdraws DEP’s application for their compressor station in Franklin Twp. on June 14, 2018 for approval under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act rules & Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules. Transco also withdrew DEP’s application for their pipeline on the Old Bridge Raritan bay for approval under Coastal Wetlands ...

Suspect in Union Carjacking Takes Own Life in Hillside

June 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – A Baltimore man ended up taking his own life in the Hillside Police Department after he was arrested for a suspected attempted carjacking in Union Friday afternoon.

The Maryland man, Jermaine Covington, 41, was arrested and used an officer’s service weapon to take his life, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Saturday.

Covington left the scene ...

'Luggage Factory' Could Be Hunterdon's First Pot Shop

RARITAN TWP., NJ – A question about opening a marijuana dispensary on Route 202-31 has prompted officials here to consider whether they want such businesses in the township.

An informal inquiry was made to the township’s Planning and Zoning Department about locating such a business in the former Luggage Factory building, Mayor Mike Mangin said at Tuesday’s Township Committee ...

Edison Police Seek Help Finding Missing 14-Year-Old

EDISON, NJ - A 14-year-old Edison girl who ran away from home on May 3 has yet to be found and police are asking anyone with information about her to come forward.

Edison detectives are leading a statewide search for the girl, Jalaysia Staplar-Evans. They believe she could be staying with friends or acquaintances in Newark or the Essex County area, said Edison Police Lt. Robert ...

Police Issue Alert for Missing New Brunswick Girl (FOUND)

Update: According to New Brunswick Police Department Capt. JT Miller, Tomesell has been located.  

NEW BRUNSWICK - Police today issued a plea for the public’s help in finding a missing 13-year-old girl.

Payton Tomesell, was last seen on Wednesday at 18 Abeel St., authorities said.

The girl suffers from anxiety and depression, and is taking medication, police ...

Bridgewater Police: Avoid Mall for Ongoing Police Investigation

UPDATE: According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall will be resuming normal business operations.

Police emphasized that there is no immediate threat to the public and no injuries were reported.

Keep checking back for more information.

Related article: Bridgewater Mall Shut Down ...

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Westfield Office; Summit Boy Arrested

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

Read: Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman Talks Gun Violence, School Safety, ...

Suspect in Union Carjacking Takes Own Life in Hillside

June 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – A Baltimore man ended up taking his own life in the Hillside Police Department after he was arrested for a suspected attempted carjacking in Union Friday afternoon.

The Maryland man, Jermaine Covington, 41, was arrested and used an officer’s service weapon to take his life, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Saturday.

Covington left the scene ...

'Luggage Factory' Could Be Hunterdon's First Pot Shop

RARITAN TWP., NJ – A question about opening a marijuana dispensary on Route 202-31 has prompted officials here to consider whether they want such businesses in the township.

An informal inquiry was made to the township’s Planning and Zoning Department about locating such a business in the former Luggage Factory building, Mayor Mike Mangin said at Tuesday’s Township Committee ...

Edison Police Seek Help Finding Missing 14-Year-Old

EDISON, NJ - A 14-year-old Edison girl who ran away from home on May 3 has yet to be found and police are asking anyone with information about her to come forward.

Edison detectives are leading a statewide search for the girl, Jalaysia Staplar-Evans. They believe she could be staying with friends or acquaintances in Newark or the Essex County area, said Edison Police Lt. Robert ...

Hillsborough: Rain or Shine the Show Goes on at Sourland Music Festival

June 22, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The music always plays on at the Sourland Music Festival - rain or shine.

There is a chance of rain in Saturday's forecast, but the show will go on.

Organizers suggest Consider bringing a pop-up, umbrellas and towels with your beach chair and refillable water bottle. Rain did not dampen the spirits of 2017 Sourland Music Fest guests - it provided unplanned ...

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Opening ReStore in Manville

MANVILLE, NJ - Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is opening a Habitat ReStore in the Marketplace at Manville, next to Walmart on North Main Street in Manville, this fall.

At the store, RVHFH will pick up gently used furniture and goods from Somerset and Hunterdon county residents, and give them a second life at the store's grand opening.

To schedule a time for RVHFH to pick ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Hillsborough: Rain or Shine the Show Goes on at Sourland Music Festival

June 22, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The music always plays on at the Sourland Music Festival - rain or shine.

There is a chance of rain in Saturday's forecast, but the show will go on.

Organizers suggest Consider bringing a pop-up, umbrellas and towels with your beach chair and refillable water bottle. Rain did not dampen the spirits of 2017 Sourland Music Fest guests - it provided unplanned ...

Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Opening ReStore in Manville

MANVILLE, NJ - Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is opening a Habitat ReStore in the Marketplace at Manville, next to Walmart on North Main Street in Manville, this fall.

At the store, RVHFH will pick up gently used furniture and goods from Somerset and Hunterdon county residents, and give them a second life at the store's grand opening.

To schedule a time for RVHFH to pick ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...