THE PROJECT 2015-06-23T02:06:24+00:00


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The THP Project Purple Initiative

THP Project Purple is an initiative of The Herren Project, a non-profit foundation established by former NBA basketball player, Chris Herren that assists individuals and families struggling with addiction. The THP Project Purple initiative was launched to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and encourage positive decision making to navigate life’s challenges.

The THP Project Purple initiative concept was developed when Chris spoke at a local high school in 2011 and in the front row of students a few were wearing Purple shirts. After Chris shared his story, one of the purple shirts raised her hand and stood up to speak. As snickering and laughter could be heard throughout the auditorium, the student said “Thank you Mr. Herren for validating what we do. We are the sober students of this high school and each year we take a pledge to not use drugs or alcohol.” Chris was captured by the courage it took to stand up and share the symbolism of the purple shirts. He was inspired by their courage to make a difference for adolescents across the United States.



The THP Project Purple Initiative empowers youth to stand up and make a difference. Going Purple gives students motivation and support as they embrace a message of education and awareness. Students learn that they do not need drugs and alcohol to meet life’s challenges; that they are perfect the way they are.



We believe in the power of good choices.
We believe that every child deserves to grow up to be who they are meant to be.
We believe through education and motivation negative peer pressure can be changed to positive peer pressure.
We believe that all students are most impacted and motivated by their peers.
We believe that students seek the truth.
We believe that students have the power to take a stand and make a difference.
We believe that students have it within themselves to take a stand against substance abuse.
We believe that students want to and can make healthy choices.
We believe that students want to show compassion and support one another
NEW UD Girls Photos & Ideas Purple Inspiration Putnam

The Facts & Stats:
  • 90% of addictions get their start in the teenage years. – CASA Columbia, 2012
  • Drug overdoses kill more than cars, guns and falling each year. – CDC, 2011
  • One person dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose in the United States. – The Partnership at
  • 9 Million adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12-25 need help with drug and alcohol problems. – 2009, National Study on Drugs and Health
  • 85 Million people are impacted in some way by substance abuse from family members, friends, care givers & employers. – The Partnership at
  • $374 billion dollars per year are spent by federal and state governments on substance abuse and addiction, but only 1.9% of this dollar amount is spent on drug and alcohol prevention & treatment. – The Partnership at


  • Everyday 3,287 teens use marijuana for the First Time – NSDUH, SAMSHA, 2014
  • Of 2.4 Million marijuana users, 78% began to use between the ages of 12 to 20. – NSDUH, SAMSHA, 2014
  • In an average day 4,365 teens used an illicit drug (marijuana, prescription medications) for the first time – SAMHSA, 2012

Prescription Drugs

  • More than 2,000 kids everyday use a prescription medicine to get high for the first time. – The Partnership at
  • 1 in 4 Teens (5 million) report having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime (Ritalin, Adderall).  – The Partnership at
  • Of those kids who said they abused Rx medications, one in five (20 percent) has done so before age 14. – The Partnership at


  • In 2012, an estimated 9.3 million underage persons (aged 12 to 20) drank alcohol, including 5.9 million binge drinkers and 1.7 million heavy drinkers. – SAMHSA, 2012


Photos & Ideas PurpleHug IMG_1408


THP Project Project Purple Testimonials:

“I am just like that girl in the Purple shirt who told you she was a sober student Thank you for validating the choices I have made and to give me justification to keep going.” – Age 16

“Driving through town and seeing the purple ribbons all around brings an immediate sense of hope in my heart.” – Community Member

“The students in our THP Project Purple club have become like my second family and pushed me to want to motivate people. I want to change people’s lives for the better and the Project Purple Initiative has meant more to me than I ever would have imagined.” – Age 17

“Today in your presentation you brought up the sober students and it made my think of myself. Thank you for giving me a reason to stay sober and to hear my friends say that people who don’t drink are just as cool or fun as everyone else and you don’t need to change them.” – Age 15

“The THP Project Purple initiative has provided me with strength, hope and meaning. My brother is an addict, and Project Purple has allowed me to get involved to support those who are addicts along with bring awareness of addiction to my campus.” – Age 21

“I’ve worked on this issue as a volunteer for ten years or so, and felt the only way to change the culture of teen alcohol/substance abuse was through a youth led effort. The THP Project Purple initiative is an elegant, simple, inspired concept and the kids and our committee are determined to keep on with the effort.” – Prevention Coalition Member

“The THP Project Purple initiative has helped me make good choice, stay away from drugs and alcohol. It has also given me many opportunities and new friendships with great people.” – Age 17

“I am that guy with the water bottle at parties and I don’t do drugs or alcohol. When it comes to decision-making you have changed me in a positive way.” – Age 16

“The THP Project Purple initiative was a great way to get involved with my high school and my community. I was given the opportunity to reach out to other organizations as well as learn valuable life lessons.” – Age 18

“Our high school students have been visiting the JR High lunches to promote the first THP Project Purple meeting that will take place next week and 52 students have already signed up!!!” – High School Teacher

“I am the student who stands up and tries to help people to stop smoking weed or stop doing any drug or even drinking. I can’t still the thought of substance abuse. I just want to help everyone I possibly can, and I know I can be that voice.” – Age 16

“The students in our THP Project Purple club have become like my second family and pushed me to want to motivate people. I want to change people’s lives for the better and the Project Purple Initiative has meant more to me than I ever would have imagined.” – Age 17

“I just wanted to send you some pictures of our THP Project Purple Initiative Events as we had an amazing turnout throughout the whole week.  So many of our students and faculty wore their THP Project Purple Initiative shirts and the color purple throughout the whole week, the halls were decorated with purple streamers, substance abuse awareness posters were hung on the walls throughout the school, and we had an extremely successful Purple bake sale to raise money for The Herren Project.” – High School Guidance Counselor

“I didn’t know about the THP Project Purple initiative until you came yesterday.  My AD asked me to wear the “official THP Project Purple” shirt to school on Monday for our Go Purple day. I want to be more involved in this because it is everything I stand for.”  – Age 16

“What does the THP Project Purple initiative mean to me? Making right choices and saying no to drugs and alcohol is what Chris Herren whispered in my ear … “Always be you!”  – Age 12

“Project Purple showed me that no matter where you look, there’s a group of people willing to lend a helping hand. It’s not about telling people that drugs are bad it’s about choices. It’s about showing you that there is another way. No one can do it alone. We learn that when we replace ” I ” with “We.” – Age 17