By Mary Blake, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – Addiction doesn’t discriminate. In part ten of her week long series ‘Heroin: From Prescription to Addiction,’ WBZ’s Mary Blake has the story of a Fall River superstar’s fall from grace, and subsequent redemption.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports

An excited audience at the Chelsea Boys and Girls Club one afternoon last month, as they waited for the afternoon’s guest speaker, Chris Herren. Herren, the one time Celtics and Nuggets guard, drew applause as he walked to the stage with his personal story of addiction and recovery. You could hear a pin drop as he talked about how his life spiraled downward during his basketball years. His new passion, is getting kids to reject drugs and alcohol. You could hear it in his voice as he paced back and forth on stage. “It breaks my heart to see kids messing around in this,” he said.

Read More: Heroin From Prescription To Addiction

His message resonated with “Jalen” in the audience. “I’ve known people, and I have heard of people, including like around here, that are going into it or are being introduced to the drugs, so like, considering all people who are younger, I think they should know the struggle and what’s bad about it,” she said.

Herren, grew up in Fall River and seemingly had everything going for him— wife, children, and a promising professional basketball career. But, Herren had been battling addiction since he was 18, and after testing positive for cocaine at Boston College, his life spiraled downward.

Herren said it was hard to tell his story at first, and it’s still hard. “I believe when it’s not hard I’ll walk away from it. With it still being hard to tell, it’s an indication to me that I’m still in the moment, I’m still living in it,” he said.

Herren also wishes that along with Math, History, Science and English, kids had more education about drugs. “We’re missing the wellness component and I think a lot of kids want that,” he said.

Like Herren, Kerri Ann Salemmi is on a mission. She is a recovery coach in Revere, available every Tuesday evening at a city drop-in center. She explains, “We meet them where they’re at, and ya know, you practice navigation, and navigate them to see what they want to do to make any sort of change.”

Salemmi has been in recovery for 13 years.

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