Former pro athlete from Clovis making it his mission to keep kids away from addiction

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thirty-three-year-old Tony Hoffman from Clovis had the world at his fingertips. An incredible talent for BMX racing that got him the cover of a BMX magazine in 2001.

"I lost everything when I say I was homeless, lost everything and had nothing left."

Hoffman would have never thought he would have his entire life stripped from him after an addiction with everything from opioids to crystal meth.

"Started with marijuana, prescription pain killers, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and then crack cocaine were my main drugs."

Hoffman said the addiction led him to robbing someone at gunpoint for narcotics, becoming homeless, and even serving two years in prison.

"I've been stabbed as a result of my drug addiction; I've been to the hospital several times found myself using needles."

It was in prison he decided to turn his life around and he has since been 10 years sober, began racing again, and made it to the Olympic level. He is now partnered with PAIN-- or Parents of Addicts In Need-- an organization in the Central Valley that focuses on speaking to schools, educating parents, and students on addiction. PAIN said 25-percent of athletes admit to using opiates.

"We want parents and athletes to understand that addiction is a possibility, especially when you're playing sports simply because of injuries," said the Founder of PAIN, Flindt Andersen.

Hoffman is now coaching Olympic BMX riders, and is a nationally recognized substance abuse speaker. He told his story Thursday night to Bullard High Schools football team and hopes they can make the right choices after hearing the wrong ones he made.

"I thought I knew everything when I was their age, and I learned I didn't know everything and neither did any of my friends that passed away from drug overdoses."

The founder of PAIN said he has been to six funerals for Bullard graduates due to overdose in the last nine years. The organization also said a quarter of the Fresno population is dependent on drugs, and it is one of the highest intravenous drug using cities in the United States.

"This is very much where I'm from and where I plan to make the biggest impact," said Hoffman.
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