NEWTOWN - A former pro basketball player who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction during his career will deliver a free speech at Council Rock High School North next month.

Chris Herren, who played with the NBA's Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, struggled with addiction to painkillers and other drugs during his basketball career.

After several arrests, Herren, 39, has been sober since August 2008, and his story has been featured in an ESPN documentary and in speeches across the country.

Addiction has been a major focus of Bucks County law enforcement in recent years, with the District Attorney's Office spearheading a number of outreach programs to combat a rise in heroin use.

An Inquirer report this month said the overdose death rate in Bucks County had doubled over the last 10 years, pulling nearly even with Philadelphia's.

Herren's speech will be on April 8 at 7 p.m. at Council Rock High North. Tickets are free but nearly all taken, according to the school. They can be reserved at A limited number will be offered at the door for Council Rock students with valid student ID.

- Chris Palmer