Kim Campbell spent close to four decades making some bad decisions: selling marijuana, robbing drugstore pharmacies and robbing banks to support his heroin addiction.
“I was a drug addict. I wanted to be clean. I wanted things to go right. But when you are hooked, drugs overtake everything – your friends, your family, your loved ones,” explained Kim. “You are waking up married to heroin. Your body’s calling for it and you are going to go get it. People don’t understand that.”
But people can change. At 62 years old, after serving his time in federal prison, Kim entered into a residential drug treatment center in Santa Cruz. Through the successful completion of the 18-month treatment program, Kim broke the cycle of addiction that had haunted him for nearly 40 years.
He took a second, very important step in the right direction when he transferred to a transitional housing opportunity that provided a sober living environment, where he has lived for the past two years. With stable housing and free from addiction, continues to make positive strides, thanks in part to his connection with the County of Santa Cruz’s Homeless Persons Health Project (HPHP). Today, Kim is trained as a peer mentor to others struggling with heroin addiction.
“It’s important to work with people. I want to help them so they don’t lose perspective,” Kim said.
HPHP is a clinic within the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency that provides a medical home, case management, outreach and housing services for people throughout Santa Cruz County who are experiencing homelessness. HPHP helps more than 3,000 people each year through its clinics. Through the County’s Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program, a medically-supervised program for opioid and other substance use disorders, Kim is maintaining sobriety with help for medication called Buprenorphine/Naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioids, including pain relief or feelings of being high that can lead to opioid abuse.
Today, at 68 years old, Kim Campbell has a lot to offer the community and seeks to build on his achievements of sobriety and housing stability through permanent employment.