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Len Bias' mother shares her perspective on drug abuse

Tuesday - 1/29/2013, 3:50pm  ET

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Bias passed away just two days after he was chosen as the second overall pick in the NBA draft. (He passed away just two days after he was chosen as the second overall pick in the NBA draft. (AP/Isaac Brekken)

The importance of speaking to kids about drug abuse

Lonise Bias, Len Bias' mother

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WASHINGTON - As teens across the D.C. region prepare to take part in an anti-drug awareness program, the mother of a well-known athlete is telling her story of loss in an effort to get through to kids.

Her son, Len Bias, was a University of Maryland basketball phenom who died in 1986 from complications of a cocaine overdose. He passed away just two days after he was chosen as the second overall pick in the NBA draft.

Lonise Bias is sharing her perspective as a speaker at the third annual National Drug Fact Week sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

After going through the hardship of losing her son, Bias has made a career of reaching out to young people to impress upon them the importance of staying away from drugs.

"I think that Len would be alive today if it had not been for the people he was associated with. So, I talk to young people about the importance of being very selective about who you let into your circle. If you have dreams and visions and goals, drugs and people who bring these influences are dream killers," Bias tells on WTOP Tuesday.

It's up to parents to engage and involve themselves in the culture that their children are immersed in and be aware of the challenges kids face, Bias says.

"What worked in 1959 will not work in 2013. Actually, what worked in 2000 won't work in 2013. And we must change our approach in meeting their needs in terms of dealing with substance abuse," Bias says.

She is also partnering with The Mentor Foundation she says to give kids a "gentle reminder of the importance of the preservation of their lives," she says.

The weeklong event, held Jan. 28 through Feb. 3, brings together teens and substance abuse experts to talk about the experience and scientific facts of drug abuse.

National Drug Fact Week events are sponsored by individual schools, groups and classes and are held at schools and community centers across the country.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)