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December 01, 2015

Former NBA player to share recovery story at Camden addiction summit

Chris Herren will share his struggles with drugs during public meeting

Former NBA player Chris Herren will share his drug recovery story next week during a summit aimed at addressing heroin addiction in Camden County.

The Camden County Freeholder Board is hosting a Community Addiction Summit Dec. 9 at Highland Regional High School in Blackwood. The two-hour event will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Herren, who played two seasons in the NBA and six more years internationally, struggled with substance abuse throughout his playing career. He has been drug-and-alcohol-free since 2008.

Herren was using cocaine and heroin as early as his college career. During his NBA career, he reportedly would meet a drug dealer in the players' parking lot to get OxyContin. His drug habits followed him as his career shifted overseas.

Ultimately, Herren was pronounced dead for 30 seconds after he crashed his car into a pole while shooting up heroin on June 4, 2008. The day marked the beginning of Herren's recovery. 

Herren documented his story in a 2012 memoir, "Basketball Junkie." ESPN also told his story in a 2011 documentary called "Unguarded."

Camden County has witnessed the most heroin-related deaths of any New Jersey county in each of the last five years.

“The scourge of heroin is ripping apart our families and killing our residents,” Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said in a statement. “It is imperative for us to act on this crisis and bring the community together to address it. That starts with this summit, which will create partnerships to impact change in our county.”