Several community groups have come together to arrange for former NBA player and college basketball star-turned opiate addict Chris Herren to speak in Islip next week.

Herren, author of the book Basketball Junkie, will be appearing before teenagers and adults Monday, Feb. 27, to talk about drug addiction and what it cost him — his life’s dreams.

State Sen. Phil Boyle secured a grant that also helped make Herren’s appearances in Islip possible.

“The heroin and opioids epidemic has taken a devastating toll on our Long Island community,” Boyle said. “Sadly, Suffolk County leads the entire state in overdose deaths.”

“As we work to pass laws to combat this growing tide, I was pleased to provide funding for inspirational speaker Chris Herren to convey his important message of hope,” he continued.

Herren will be speaking to students at Islip High School during the day and will be making an appearance at 7 p.m. that night at Trinity Lutheran Church, located at 111 Nassau Avenue in Islip. (Update: The attendance is full.)

The Islip UFSDA IDEA Task Force, Islip North Community Watch Group, the Trinity Lutheran Church of Islip, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and the Rotary Clubs of Islip, Ronkonkoma, Sayville, Hauppauge, Babylon and Rotary District 7255 all worked together to make Herren’s visit possible.

A basketball standout from Fall river, Mass., Herren played at Fresno State before being drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 1999 NBA draft. He played his rookie season in Colorado before being traded to his beloved Boston Celtics.

Despite his talent, his addiction to drugs facilitated his exit from the NBA after just two years. He later overdosed in 2008, with no money or insurance to pay for his care. Click here for more.

He now tours the country as a motivational speaker and founded The Herren Project, which assists people escape and recover from drug addiction.

“Chris Herren’s story is an important lesson for the youth of Islip to hear,’ said Glen Carballo, president of the Watch Group. “Heroin is a plague affecting many of Long Island’s communities and if his story is able to deter at least one young person from trying this lethal, dangerous drug, our presentation was successful.”


Featured Photo: Screen shot from Stories of Recovery with Chris Herren (Facing Addiction). Click here to follow Facing Addiction on Youtube.