Former NHL star shares story of opioid addiction, recovery

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — A man who entered the darkness of opioid addiction is traveling around sharing his story with hopes of stopping others from following his path.

“If you're an opiate addict and stuck in addiction bad things are going to happen,” Kevin Stevens said.

And bad things did happen to Stevens, a former NHL all-star who went from winning the Stanley Cup twice, with the Pittsburgh Penguins to facing jail time in a federal court.

“I was at the bottom. I couldn't see no purpose in my life. There really was no purpose,” he said.

Stevens’ life had fully unraveled in May 2016 when federal agents busted down his door and arrested him for conspiring to sell oxycodone.

For more than twenty years, Stevens, who had a brief stint with the Bruins, struggled with addiction to opiate painkillers after incurring a devastating facial injury during a game.

“It's been a long, tough, painful battle. But when you get to the other side, which I think I've gotten now, you feel great,” he said.

Stevens got to that other side, and to the Covenant Community Church in East Bridgewater, by pleading guilty to the federal charges.

The judge ordered Stevens to pay a fine and serve three years on probation, during which he would give motivational speeches about overcoming addiction.

It's a message valued in Plymouth County, which is coordinating its efforts on the opioid crisis.

“We share information in real time to help get people into recovery, into treatment or at least introduce them to the options that are out there available to them,” East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen said.

Addiction is the great equalizer.

“Addicts, we're all the same. We're all trying to get one day at a time and trying to get to the next day and live a happy life,” Stevens said.

Kevin Stevens says he was once that proverbial guy who had it all.  Now, 16 months sober, he understands that sometimes having enough is enough.

“I had 28 great years in the NHL. I had 24 tough years after that. And now I have 25 more years, hopefully, to live and live a good life,” he said.

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