Lost In Phoenix. Stories of Addiction and Homelessness on The Streets of Phoenix, AZ
One Arizona man is helping homeless men and women tell their stories. Lost in Phoenix is a Youtube channel created by Art Castro in November of 2020. Equipped with a Go-Pro, hygiene bags, and a whole lot of compassion, Castro moves about the Phoenix streets, building rapport and showing interest in those who seem all but forgotten. Castro interviews those he encounters, asking them about their situations and what’s brought them to this point in their lives. All too often, these are relatively young men and women (20-30) in the grips of addiction.
In an interview with AZ Family, Castro said that his channel’s goal is to put a face and a story to the lost.
“I’m trying to put a story, a face, to many of the lost souls that are out there” – Art Castro
Castro seems to share the view that those we see walking the streets, homeless and addicted, are not just random people; they are our neighbors who need love, support, and most importantly resources to make changes when they are ready.
Arizonians in Phoenix and surrounding cities can likely attest to the fact that there is a problem with increasing homelessness all over the city. To understand what is happening to Phoenix and help those who find themselves on the streets, it’s important to understand the factors that lead people to homelessness. These factors include lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, and an overall lack of resources. Many of the men and women who are on the street are affected by ALL of these factors.
Are you or someone you love in need of drug and alcohol rehab? Call us today and find a Phoenix rehab.
The Faces of Those Who are Lost in Phoenix
One of the most difficult videos to watch on Lost in Phoenix is the story of Adam, who at just 21 finds himself on the streets and addicted to fentanyl. In the interview, Adam conveys genuineness and honesty about his situation which tells me that he may be ready to truly get help. His tears convey the gratitude that someone took time from their day to speak with him and empathize with his situation.
Anthony is a father of 5 who has been on the streets since he was about 11 years old. Like Adam, Anthony is addicted to fentanyl. During his interview, he shows hesitancy towards the idea of treatment. He feels that without the love of his family behind him treatment is extremely difficult. When asked about the dangers that are present on the streets of Phoenix, he says that there are constant dangers day and night. Anthony panhandles on a daily basis to purchase fentanyl pills. Being a Carpenter, Anthony has an amazing skill that he could utilize to build a career for himself.
Serenity who is 23 years old finds herself homeless on the streets of Phoenix after developing a fentanyl addiction. She tells her story of what it’s like to live day to day on the streets, the situations she’s encountered and what she’s had to resort to doing in order to keep up with her addiction. It’s clear that Serenity’s relationship with family has suffered but it’s not completely broken.
I was Homeless and Addicted Too
In the year 2014, I found myself homeless and on the streets of Phoenix. Never in my life did I believe that I would be walking down the street unshowered, my hair a mess, screaming and arguing with absolutely no one. When I take even a moment to think and reflect on those times, I remember feeling a strong sense that getting better was impossible. Addiction had been slowly and insidiously working in my life over the course of a decade, and it had finally brought me to the worst possible destination. I had every ounce of certainty that death was soon to follow.
As a teenager and a natural thrill-seeker, I found myself addicted to heroin at 17. After 6 months of use, where all was fun and games, the crushing weight of the physical addiction fell on top of me like a literal ton of bricks.
Even just remembering the things I went through is difficult for me. I imagine it’s the same for those who continue to live this reality every waking day. I remind myself about where I was because I never want to lose the sense of empathy needed to make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering. Empathy is rarely found on Phoenix’s streets, where every moment is a struggle to exist.
When watching the Lost in Phoenix videos, I can’t help but see myself in the people he interviews. Of course, we are different people, but it’s important to remember that addiction doesn’t care who you are. Addiction doesn’t discriminate.
Eventually, with what I’m sure was divine intervention, I was set free from addiction. I did and continue to do the work needed to remain drug-free. My life has been steered in a completely new direction.
Every part of me hopes that those who are homeless and addicted understand that they can change too. It is not over as long as you’re still breathing.
Help is Out There
It’s easy for those who find themselves homeless and addicted to feel as if help is not available. The truth is that over the years, drug and alcohol rehab has become more accessible as providers begin to offer treatment.
Men and women who are homeless and destitute are highly likely to qualify for an AHCCCS rehab. We have created a resource with information on the different AHCCCS insurances and the programs which accept them here.
If you or someone you love needs treatment, call 1(888)906-0952 today.