North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

BMX pro talks about addiction

 

October 18, 2017 | View PDF

Courtesy Photo

Speaker Tony Hoffman will be at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center on Oct. 19.

National speaker and BMX professional Tony Hoffman will speak in Arlington about drug addiction and his own struggles on Oct. 19.

The talk is hosted by the Arlington Drug Awareness Coalition (ADAC) and begins at 6 p.m. at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center at 18825 Crown Ridge Blvd., Arlington.

"We're really excited to have Tony Hoffman here," said Andrea Conley, ADAC co-chair and former Arlington School District employee. "He is really engaging with the kids."

Hoffman was a promising athlete in his younger years, especially in BMX, an off-road bicycle racing competition.

However, his use of prescription painkillers eventually brought him to commit a home invasion armed robbery in 2004.

"He had quite a track to go on for his life and it all came crashing down," said Conley. "He just lost everything."

In 2007 Hoffman was sentenced to two years in prison.

Since his release Hoffman has returned to BMX and is currently No. 2 in Masters Pro class and was a 2016 Rio Olympic Games coach.

He has also made it his goal to talk about substance abuse, and wrote a book which was published in 2016 called "Coming Clean."

"He made it his goal to talk to other kids," said Conley. "I think they will like his transparency and honesty."

Conley said that ADAC officials hoped that the talk will encourage others to have open conversations.

"We wanted to focus this fall on how to have conversations with kids about drug use and addiction," she said.

ADAC has worked with kids the past few years. "When our counselors met with the kids we found that they were really anxious to talk to people and just wanted to have an open conversation about it," she said.

They hope to promote having honest talks with kids about drug use. "I hope it stimulates conversations for families," said Conley.

"The end goal for us is always to create a healthy community and help take away some of the stigma for addiction so that people can get help," she said.

There will also be a resource fair at the event, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., after the presentation.

Conley said the specific groups aren't nailed down yet, but there are usually organizations with positive environments for children as well as recovery groups that come.

Arlington and Lakewood high school students will be also able to hear Hoffman speak at assemblies at their schools on Oct. 19 and 20.

The Lakewood community has been more involved with ADAC since an event was held there last year.

"It's nice to participate with another school district in these efforts," said Conley.

The Tulalip Resort Casino is also helping sponsor the event by providing free room and board for Hoffman.

"I know the tribal communities are struggling with the same addiction issues we all are, so it's nice that we can work together on solutions," said Conley.

ADAC is a group founded by a partnership of Arlington School District members, police officers and community members to help fight opioid addiction and support those who are addicted.

More information about the coalition is available at their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/arlingtonaware.

 

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