Former Boston Celtic Chris Herren was the featured speaker at District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s 11th Annual School Safety Conference on April 11, 2013.  Herren chronicled his struggle with drug addiction in his book Basketball Junkie and founded The Herren Project which provides assistance to families affected with addiction.    

            “We returned to the topic of teen substance abuse because nothing threatens the safety of young people more than drug and alcohol use.  While some national surveys show that teen alcohol and some drug use is declining, most American school children will be offered drugs or alcohol before they graduate.” D.A. Blodgett said.  “We know that young people who use drugs and alcohol are more likely to have a lower academic performance, be involved in criminal activity, either as the perpetrator or as the victim, or become addicted.  Therefore we must continue to find ways to address this issue.”

            Nearly 300 educators, law enforcement officials and social service providers attended this year’s conference and were visibly moved while Herren shared his compelling story of substance abuse and recovery.  “He is one of the most riveting speakers I have ever heard,” DA Blodgett said.  “His story powerfully illustrates how alcohol and marijuana can lead a person to prescription drugs and ultimately to shooting heroin.  This progression occurred against the backdrop of the achievement of his lifelong dream of becoming a Boston Celtic, which underscores that drug addiction can happen to anyone.”

            John J. Arvantis, Special Agent in Charge, New England Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Emily Feinstein, Project Director of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University also addressed the conference.

Each year, D.A. Blodgett invites national experts to address school administrators, law enforcement, juvenile court officials and other state and local agencies who serve school-age young people on some aspect of school safety.  “My aim in hosting these annual meetings is to encourage a collaborative approach to addressing the many facets of school safety,” D.A. Blodgett said.  “This is not the sole job of the police or the school department, but all of us working together to ensure that our young people are safe and well informed about the consequences of their actions.”


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