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Prop 36 has been helping people enter treatment and improve—and even save—their own lives since July 2001. Since then, over 60,000 Californians have completed drug treatment and had a good chance at recovery.

These are the stories of some of those people. If you would like to include your story, let us know by clicking on the "Submit Your Story" link above.

Peter K.


It took Peter K. 34 years to lose everything, and less than 2 years to begin to recover it all.

When he was 11, Peter began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana, and over the years became what he considered a “functional addict,” using cocaine regularly and LSD less often. At 34, he started using methamphetamine, and his life began to fall apart. He abandoned his two children and his job. As his life spiraled further out of control, he found himself first living out of his car and then, inevitably, on the streets.

Ironically, Peter’s fate changed the day he was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance. Instead of facing jail time, Peter was offered a chance at renewal through the Proposition 36 treatment-instead-of-incarceration program. With only four dollars in his pocket and a knapsack of clothes on his back, Peter entered a residential transitional program where he finally found the support he needed to begin recovery. “It was an important stepping stone to get a foothold on what recovery really is about,” he explains. He feels the difference in the environment between prison and the transitional program, where participants find solidarity among their peers who all face the same struggles, was essential to a successful recovery.

For Peter and many like him, prison was not an effective deterrent to using drugs. In fact, being in jail reinforced his lifestyle and gave him new ideas about using. The first thing he would do when he got out of jail was get high.

But this time the opposite would be true. When he left the program—where he proudly served as house manager for 18 months—Peter felt confident that he was ready to replace his bleak past with a promising future. Today, he is the primary sales person for a company that sells construction services. Peter squared away past debts, taxes and child support and worked hard to reconcile his relationship with his older children, now 13 and 18. He also has a 13 month old son and is building a home with his significant other.

Through Proposition 36, Peter got his chance at a clean slate and the proof is in the pudding: he has remained clean and sober for four years. He says, “I am most grateful for the chance to make it up to my loved ones and for the chance to make a U-turn in my life, which, otherwise, may never have been an option on the road that I had been on.”

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Oliver H.
Gary McNeil
Scott J.
Tammy B.
Peter K.
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Marilyn L.
Garrett G.
Kenneth K.
Tony Jackson
Curtis E.
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Drug Policy Alliance · (916) 444-3751 · [email protected]
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