Proposition 36 Success Stories

Mary (Sacramento): During the years Mary was using she didn’t even show up at her family’s home for the holidays. This year, Mary is caring for her two sick parents during the day, and at night she will be celebrating and cooking a holiday meal for the women in the residential treatment house where she now works. Mary started using drugs at age 38 and was arrested for the first time in her life at age 45. With the option of entering treatment through Proposition 36, Mary went into recovery. This February Mary celebrated three years clean and sober. Mary went back to school in the field of recovery, got her certification, and has been working in a recovery house for the last two years.

De Andre (Los Angeles): As a user of crack cocaine, De Andre was well known to police officers in Los Angeles— he had begun using at the age of 20. He’s now 28, and since being offered treatment through Proposition 36 in April 2004, he has been getting his life back on track. He now has a job and is going to school, and says he is grateful for receiving treatment because he can now spend more time with his two daughters. De Andre admits that if it weren’t for Prop 36 he would “probably be running the streets or dead.”

Gary (Riverside): Gary used drugs for 30 years before he was able to turn his life around. He had lost job after job, as well as his home, and was living in a tent in a canyon when he was picked up on possession charges and offered the choice between years in prison and treatment through Prop 36. Gary was 47 when he entered treatment. After completing a residential program, he was able to move in with his daughter and meet his grandchildren for the first time. He graduated from Prop 36 in February of 2003, and he now has his driver's license, owns two vehicles, has a job and rents an apartment.

Sam (Oakland): In January Sam completed his 12 month residential program and become a Proposition 36 graduate. During the program he obtained his GED, went to trade school, graduated and is now part of the carpenter's union. He specializes in installing fireproofing insulation. His counselor beams as he describes Sam's successes, "He is receiving a pension and benefits and making good money. He saved enough money to buy his own vehicle and is now saving to move into his own apartment." Before entering Prop 36, Sam lived on the streets. When he was brought in on a possession charge and his public defender offered him Prop 36, he decided to enter treatment. Sam will celebrate the holidays with his family this year. After not having seen his seventeen-year-old brother for seven years, he now regularly takes him to the movies on the weekends.