The shattering experience of losing her son to cocaine abuse pushed Lonise Bias into the arena of public speaking. At high schools, colleges, and public auditoriums across the country, she delivers a stirring message of family togetherness, love, and mutual encouragement, and a stem warning about the realities of drug abuse. Her son, college basketball star Len Bias, captured national headlines last year when he became the top draft pick by the Boston Celtics. Days after the announcement, Len died at his University of Maryland dormitory following an overdose of cocaine. CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked Lonise Bias to explain the message she takes across the country and the spiritual motivation behind it.

What is your primary message to young people?

I tell them what we all need to do is go back into our homes, get back into our families, and get back to the basics of loving. Children are our future. I tell young people, “We have no future if you are having babies at 12, 13, 14 years old; we have no future if all of our men are locked up or using or selling drugs.

“You’re sitting here looking at Mrs. Bias and all the teachers and principals and counselors and guides and aides—that’s you ten years from now. You will hold these positions. But if you have no values, if you do not love yourself and love your fellow man, who will do these jobs?” Many of them have never thought about that.

Why do young people begin using drugs?

I used to think they were using drugs because of peer pressure and for recreational use. But once I started speaking to young people, they told me many of them use drugs because they cannot cope. I ask them what they mean by that, and they say, “Well, my mom and I don’t ...

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