On Wednesday, May 18, the BCHS chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) sponsored a day-long event to help educate students about the effects and long-term impacts of drug and alcohol abuse. Experts from across the Capital Region were on hand to share addiction and mental health resources with students and answer questions.
Featured speakers included former NBA player Chris Herren who spoke to the entire student body about his basketball career and his journey to sobriety. Speaking about the experiences that impacted his life as a teenager, athlete and speaker, Herren’s goal was to get the BC students, and staff, to rethink how they look at the disease of addiction. Herren also answered questions from students as part of the presentation.
Helping to drive home the day’s message were Mark and Theresa Kaplan, who shared the story of their son’s long struggle with opioid addiction. Marcus Kaplan died from the disease of addiction in 2019 at the age of 33. He was a 2004 graduate of Bethlehem Central High School. It was the second time in less than a week the Kaplans shared their personal history of dealing with opioid addiction with students.
To honor the memory of Marcus Kaplan and show support for the Kaplan family, students and staff wore their best “crazy socks” on Wednesday. Others wore the color purple in support of addiction recovery efforts. Purple is also the color used by Chris Herren’s organization, The Herren Project, which was established to educate and fight opioid addiction.
Community groups, counselors and alcohol and drug addiction educators were available to students throughout the day and offered hands-on activities that included using a crash simulator and impairment goggles to help students better understand the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
- Youth Voices Matter
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
- Albany County Child & Youth Services
- Albany County MOTOR Program
- Albany County Sheriff’s Office STOP-DWI
- American Suicide Prevention
- AMC Specialized Care
- Addictions Care Center of Albany (ACCA)
- Northeastern Community Action Program (NECAP)
- Mission for Marcus (sponsored by Delmar Rotary)
- AHEC (Area Health Education Center)
- Herren Project
- MHANYS Mental Health Association of NYS