Drug and Alcohol Prevention
My addiction began in high school with what I then perceived as innocent use of alcohol on the weekends after games. This was a gateway to marijuana, cocaine and painkillers, until I completely spun out of control. When I was growing up, the “D.A.R.E.” program was everywhere, and although the intentions were only to help prevent addiction it had a conflicting and confusing impact on my decisions. Reflecting back on law enforcement’s “do drugs once and they will kill you” approach after I experimented with drugs and realizing that they didn’t kill me. In fact, it was initially the opposite, they made me feel good.Click here to Read More
This realization brought about doubts to anything that I had heard during these programs since they must not have known what they were talking about. However, there was one important thing I was missing. That short time that drugs made me “feel good” was actually the hook, but by the time I realized this, it was too late.
I am now endorsed by law enforcement and am working together to more effectively inform young people regarding drug and alcohol prevention. During my football career at the University of Idaho, in an attempt to get a prescription written for vicodin, I even went to the extremes of breaking my own foot by kicking an oak coffee table repeatedly. I hated reality and I hated myself. This is what drugs did to my mind and this is the “hook” that I talk about. I lived this hell and I speak to others in the hopes that they can avoid what I experienced.
Gangs and the Criminal Life
As my addiction progressed so did my involvement in criminal activities. Unfortunately, I have spent much of my life rubbing shoulders with people involved in organized crime, gangs, drug smuggling and the list goes on. I know first-hand the consequences of breaking the law and the truth behind what is portrayed in movies, music and other media that glamorizes “gangsters,” the mafia, drug smugglers, etc. I give a behind the scenes look at this dark world of crime and it’s characters, in the hopes that the younger generation will think twice before trying to emulate them.
Friends and Peer Pressure
When I was in high school, I thought that I had so many close friends. I was popular and had a large circle. I was blindfolded to the truth about what a real friend really was. Some of these “friends” sat quietly and watched as I walked off a cliff. Some even encouraged me to keep walking. In fact, I often times use this ‘cliff’ scenario as a teaching tool during my presentations.
I invite young people to evaluate the friends that they have in their own lives, and ask themselves, “are these people who want me to succeed? Are they helping me be the best person that I can be? Peer pressure is usually the driving force behind drug and alcohol experimentation. This leads to drug and alcohol use, it’s abuse and then towards dependency and addiction. It has become commonplace to hear about drug overdoses, drunk driving deaths, teen pregnancies, etc. that it no longer has the shock factor that it used to. Sitting in the chairs or bleachers as a middle school, high school or even college student, many never think that this could happen to them. I know this because I was once sitting there. My message is exactly the message that I needed to hear, but never did.
Prison is one of the worst places on earth. Depending on the audience, depends on the depth that I go into my experience and knowledge of this “culture.” The consequences of poor decision making has an impact on the life of an addict well before this usually becomes a reality. However, prison is very much a part of my story. The graphic detail of what I went through during a 7 month time period in the “hole” is guaranteed to open anyone’s eyes and question whether or not they should continue down the road that they are on.
Doing the Right Thing
Everyday, we are given choices. In all of us, there is that inner voice that tells us right from wrong. The outcome of someone’s life, depends completely on the choices that they make.
I was forced to look at the truths of my life and who I had become. I had no one to blame but myself for the choices that I made. I was selfish, dishonest and completely naive to what true success really was. I realized that “what comes around goes around”. The world that these young people are preparing to enter is often materialistic and the image of success is so often only viewed from a financial stand point – not on the character or moral values of an individual as it should be. When you do the right thing, you feel good, and when you feel good, you are happy. I believe that being happy, is all of our goal, and doing the right thing helps us get there.
Always Being Yourself and Following Your Dreams
When I was a kid I wanted to be just like my dad and play wide receiver for the University of Idaho “Vandals”. I practiced any chance I got, throwing the ball up in the air to myself and playing catch with whoever would. In 5th grade, my mom finally agreed to let me play. As much as I asked, the coaches never let me play receiver. Instead I was a 3rd string (and 70 lb.) lineman! During awards night at the end of the season, the head coach brought me up in front of the room with the whole team and their families watching. “Anthony is a great kid, but he can’t catch a thing! When he told us he wanted to be a receiver, we all just laughed.” Then he proceeded to put me a few feet from him and ended with “He could be right there and I could throw him something, anything, and this kid just won’t catch it!”
I was crushed. I vowed to never play again.
It took three years before I finally started to listen to that inner voice again, who knew that I could be a great receiver. Four years after that, I held every receiving record there was at Monroe High School. That summer I was packing my bags and driving off to Moscow, Idaho – the home of the “Vandals” – to play football at the University of Idaho. Just like my dad.
My point for telling this story is simple:I never let anyone or anything get in the way of my dreams. Then I took drugs.
“Former Bank Robber to Speak to Students About Choices”
Former football star turned armored car robber Anthony Curcio will be speaking to several Portland area college football programs this month, including Oregon State University. (Article from the Oregonian 2016)
A record breaking two sport athlete in high school, Curcio went on to play football at the University of Idaho. During his sophomore season, he injured his knee and was prescribed Vicodin, which eventually led to a full blown addiction. As this addiction progressed so did his involvement in criminal activities, including the robbery of a Brinks armored car in 2008.Click here to Read More
Curcio’s robbery gained national attention as details were released regarding the elaborate heist of $400,000 outside of the Bank of America branch in the Seattle area. For months, Curcio studied the armored car movements and his getaway. He posted a Craigslist ad soliciting day laborers for a construction job. On the day of the planned heist, he instructed them to wear a very specific outfit and to arrive at the bank parking lot at the time he was to rob the Brinks truck.
On Sept. 30, 2008, dressed exactly like the men he “hired” from craigslist, Curcio approached the Brinks truck, sprayed the driver with mace, and took the bags of money. He then ran to a nearby creek where he had previously setup a cable pulley system to carry him and the money upstream in an inner tube to a waiting getaway vehicle.
However, Curcio did not get far thanks to a tip from a very attentive homeless man who had witnessed a “dry run” weeks before the crime. This tip eventually led to Curcio’s arrest after federal agents were able to link him to the crime using DNA evidence. He was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.
While in prison, Anthony co-authored a book titled “Heist and High,” which tells the story of his once promising life and the downward spiral that followed his addiction – including spending nearly 7 months in solitary confinement during his prison sentence – where he found himself and what he believes, his purpose. Since his release from prison, Curcio has been speaking to youth at middle schools, high schools, colleges and even jails, warning as many as possible about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
“I can’t change the person I was, but I can decide who I want to be today. I believe that if I can help just one of these kids from taking the path that I took, then this might all just have had a purpose.”
“Anthony Curcio captivated my team with his life story. His rise and fall due to his battle of addiction is a story and lesson no one will forget. We have had so many speakers come to address potential pitfalls for young men, but Anthony was the most impacting I have heard. More importantly, I believe it will have the longest lasting impact.”
– Joe Smith (Linfield College Head Coach, Football)
“It was hard to get the students to leave. Fantastic motivational presentation!”
-Bea Sawyer (BSU president and FW School)
“Anthony’s presentation is still being talked about by the students… and the staff.”
-Paul Nichols (Principal, Thomas Jefferson High School)
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“In my 5 years of professional speaking, I haven’t seen a speaker have that kind of impact on an audience. Flat out, that dude is impressive.”
-Trent Shelton (author, speaker and CEO of Rehabtime)
“This is the first time we have seen the kids so captivated by a presenter.”
-Travis Tilford (Police Officer, Federal Way Police Department)
“When Anthony was talking about how these kids have an opportunity ahead of them, one that he threw away, I was almost in tears. So much passion and so effective. He was born to do this.”
-Dane Batty (Author)
“Real and raw. Exactly what they needed to hear.”
-DeAnna Kilga (Principal, Lake Washington High School)
“It’s been weeks after you left, and we still have students asking if you can come back.”
-Kristin Danielsen (teacher, The Center School)
“I remember recruiting Anthony while he was still in high school, he was a good kid with a good heart. Years later, I read about him and all that happened because of his addiction. Now that same kid with a good heart is using all he went through to help others from going through the same. Anthony connected with our players and our staff, and even stuck around to have lunch. Wonderful experience.”
-Jay Locey (Chief of Operations, Oregon State University)
“You really got to them and they are still talking about you several days later!”
-Courtney Rollman (youth probation officer, Thurston County)
Student only feedback
“Hands down the best presentation I’ve ever had in my school career”
“I could have listened to him all day. He doesn’t want anyone to experience the pain he did.”
“It was real, that’s what I liked”
“I went home and talked to my parents about everything he said. He opened our eyes to say the least.”
“He was awesome!!!!!”
“Anthony is a captivating and thought-provoking speaker who illustrates how our choices can derail our dreams. In telling his story, he illustrates how addiction can manifest itself in anyone if you continue to abuse substances of any kind. In particular, he highlights how the college social scene played a large role on his road to addiction, and cautioned us of its dangers. He encouraged and challenged our team to think about our choices in all phases of our lives and to cut out habits and people that would prevent us from achieving our goals.”
“Anthony Curcio’s story was not only astonishing, but enlightening and potentially life changing. Something any student, parent, coach, athlete, team, and/or person needs to hear.”
More available upon request
The Center School, Seattle
North Chicago Community High School, Illinois
University of Idaho, Moscow
Big Picture High School, Bellevue
Lake Washington High School, Kirkland
Rose Hill Middle School, Kirkland
Oregon State University, Corvallis
Marquette Senior High, Michigan
Denny Youth Detention Center, EverettClick here to Read More
Jackson High School, Everett
Interlake High School, Bellevue
Eastside Catholic High School, Bellevue
Thurston County Detention Center, Tumwater
State of Michigan Foster Program MYOI Camp
North Star Academy, Michigan
Thomas Jefferson High School, Federal Way
Edmonds Community College, Lynwood
Willamette University, Salem
Granite Falls High School, Granite Falls
Snohomish County Jail, Everett
US Probation Summer Institute, Lynwood
Seaside Community, Seaside
A.J. Katzenmaier Academy
Learn South Chicago
Linfield College, Mcminville
Hope Soldiers Event, Everett
Auburn High School, Auburn
Boys and Girls Club of America
Unity on Union
U.S. Federal Pretrial/Probation
Please contact for complete list/references
If you are interested in having Anthony speak at your school or event, please use the contact form on the front page. You may also email Anthony directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click HERE for printable One-Sheet to use at your event