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Chris Herren Heads Back To Staten Island To Tell Story Of Drug Addiction

Chris Herren (file / credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Chris Herren (file / credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - About 1,000 high school students from 13 schools filled the St. George Theatre on Staten Island on Tuesday to hear from Chris Herren talk about drugs.

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They were riveted by the message for the former professional basketball player who described his terrible journey – 14 years of an all-consuming addiction that began with prescription pills and led, finally, to heroin.

He achieved the dream of playing for the Boston Celtics, but lost everything.

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One teenage girl asked him about all of the second chances he threw away.

“Some people would say, ‘Oh man, that dude, he had second chance after second chance.’ And all that did was prolong my misery – ‘second chances,’” Herren told her. “Now I thank God for the second chance. I’m still here today. I have friends who walked into these assemblies and made fun and laughed and texted and talked who are dead.”

His goal now: tell kids the truth and turn them away from the scourge of drug addiction.

“2,000 people will start with prescription medication today, teenagers, and it’s an epidemic and it needs to be recognized and talked about more because these kids think one pill is really not going to lead them to a lifetime of addiction,” Heren said.

But they heard it from Herren, whose plunge into addiction began with one little pill of Oxycontin.