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A nationally known motivational speaker is scheduled for a public presentation at Garrett College CARC on Monday, September 9th at 7 p.m. He will also speak at both county high schools on the following day. Eighth-grade students from each middle school will attend the high school presentations.

Chris Herren, a basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, was an All-American who broke scoring records and was recruited by the nation’s top colleges. Herren realized his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999 and then traded to his hometown team, the Boston Celtics, before losing his career and almost his family to the disease of addiction.

“In long term recovery since 2008, Herren inspires people to start the conversation about wellness and educate themselves about the disease of addiction,” says The Herren Project website. “It is his hope that strength will be found in the struggle, and communities will come TOGETHER to address the issue of a substance use disorder, advocate for effective treatment, and embrace the power of recovery.”

“We are bringing Chris Herren to Garrett County to help raise awareness about substance use disorder and remind everyone that it takes the entire community to combat this problem,” said Sadie Liller, Prevention Coordinator at the Garrett County Health Department. “We know that the longer we delay any type of substance use to the developing brain, the better the outcome is for the person.”

“Chris Herren’s story is very personal,” Liller said. “He will share his recovery journey in a brutally honest format, taking the audience on his journey from addiction to sobriety, addressing the themes of gateway drugs, prescription drug use, vaping and the responsibility of prevention starting with us all.”

Attendees are asked to wear purple in support of National Recovery Month and Project Purple.

“Project Purple combines National Recovery Month with a campaign to reduce the stigma of mental and substance use disorders,” said Bob Stephens, Garrett County Health Officer. Project Purple asks everyone to turn Garrett County purple by putting up banners, purple ribbons, purple lightbulbs, wearing purple clothes, and using #EndTheStigmaGC on marquees, etc.

For help finding community resources for mental health and substance use disorders, visit AddictionHappens.org, or call the Behavioral Health division of the Garrett County Health Department at 301-334-7680. The Chris Herren presentation is sponsored by the Garrett County Behavioral Health Authority, and grants from Behavioral Health Administration and the Health Resources and Services Administration. For more information about the presentation, contact Sadie Liller at 301-334-7730 or 301-895-3111.