The Paw

Monday is going to be a purple kind of day

Chris Herren and his THP Project Purple assembly come to Tigard

By Liz Blodgett

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On March 5, former NBA player Chris Herren will be coming to Tigard High to tell his story of drug abuse and recovery. The school will be on a special afternoon assembly schedule to hear Herren’s powerful message.

 

THP Project Purple is an initiative of The Herren Project, a non-profit foundation established by Herren, whose whole mission is about raising awareness of the harmful effects of teenage drug and alcohol use.

 

According to the THP Project Purple website, statistics show that 90 percent of all drug addiction starts under the age of 18. Through Tigard Highs’ S.T.U.D.D. club (Stop Tigard Underaged Drinking and Drug use), the Tigard High School student body is being given the opportunity to listen to Chris Herren’s story about how drugs almost destroyed his life.

 

Health 2 teacher Connie Jolley helped bring Herren to Tigard. “I’ve worked with young people my whole life and I’ve lost way too many students already from overdoses or something related to drugs,” Jolley said. “I’ve seen many athletes in particular not reach their full potential because they got involved with drugs.”

 

Herren had his whole life turned upside down once he started using. His future was bright. He landed a spot on the Denver Nuggets and was a rising star. But he was one of the few athletes who thought that doing drugs would not affect his performance. However, like many, he was wrong. In 2004, Chris overdosed and was presumed dead. Despite all of this, he continued to live and is now able to tell his story of how he overcame hitting rock bottom.

 

Advisor of Tigard’s S.T.U.D.D. club Connie Ramaekers thinks S.T.U.D.D. plays an important role in helping students  “I’ve seen many lives changed through this program, and I just know that students are so much better off when they stay away from drugs and alcohol and  that way they can reach their full potential,” Ramaekers said.

THP Project Purple is all about raising awareness and opening the eyes of students to see what could be in store for them. “We want to help students be aware of what’s out there, what drugs and alcohol will do to their lives, and Chris Herren’s story is so powerful that students will really take what he has to say and will take it to heart and it can and will change lives,” Ramaekers said.

 

The members of S.T.U.D.D. have tried to make an environment where students can openly talk about the important issue of teenage drug and alcohol use. “I’ve seen people who have joined the club after doing things like that and realizing they don’t need it in their lives and joined the club saying that they believe in the idea that people don’t have to do drugs to be happy in the end,” sophomore Alayna Reiger said.

 

According to Herren’s website, 85 million people are impacted by substance abuse of family, friends, caregivers or employers. He will be coming to Tigard High to tell his story in hopes of helping students overcome their issues and/or give advice to them for them to seek help for a friend or family member.

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