Community Coalition Goes Purple For Substance Abuse

Rockaway, NJ, January 21, 2014This January, the Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris is turning the county purple! Project Purple was launched by former NBA basketball player Chris Herren to bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and to shed light on effective treatment practices. To participate, schools and groups wear purple shirts and awareness bands from January 27th through January 31st. During this time individuals are encouraged to sign the Project Purple Pledge, to pledge sobriety and to stand up against substance abuse.

Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris (CCSHM) is working to spread Project Purple to high schools throughout Morris County. CCSHM is a county-wide prevention coalition made up of an association of individuals and organizations that collaborate in the delivery of environmental strategies to prevent and reduce the harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs in Morris County. In 2013, CCSHM member Denise Mariano initiated Project Purple at Roxbury High School in 2013 with fellow member Jen Kenney, Roxbury High School Student Assistance Counselor. Now Roxbury High School, Mount Olive High School, Morris Hills and Morris Knolls are all involved with Project Purple.

Project Purple takes place in January, but its impact is year-round. On April 24, 2014, CCSHM, in collaboration with Morristown Medical Center, Saint Clare’s Hospital and the Morris County Department of Human Services, will bring Chris Herren to the Mount Olive Performing Arts Center to speak about his personal experience with the dangers of substance abuse.

Herren is no stranger to the highs and lows experienced in the life of an addict. Herren was drafted to the Denver Nuggets out of college. He went on to play for the Boston Celtics and international teams. Throughout his professional career, Herren racked up seven drug-related felonies as a result of his abuse of prescription painkillers, heroin and crystal meth. He ultimately overdosed on heroin and crashed into a utility pole in Fall River, MA. After this incident, Herren went into recovery. Herren’s journey is the subject of a 2011 Emmy-nominated documentary called Unguarded.

For more information about this January’s Project Purple or the April 24 event, visit CCSHM’s website at, or on Facebook at ccshmorris.