How Harm Reduction saved my life and helped me find my purpose
By Carla C
I met Prevention Point when I was in Kensington shooting dope and cocaine. They had a van on Indiana St. that would give out clean works and test for HIV. I always trusted them because I knew they were only there to help people. I always talked to Mr. Charles, who was a former drug user who was now substance-free. I always wanted to be off the drugs. I never wanted to be a drug addict, so speaking with him gave me hope.
All of my three sisters died from drugs and I didn’t want to be next.
Many years later I got out of jail and would always visit the PPP on Lehigh Ave. It was there that I met a staff person who I asked to put me on the Suboxone program. They said it was full but to keep checking back. I did exactly that and would keep checking back with them. At this time, I was hooked back on heroin and was on probation for five years. I knew I needed to change my ways. All of my three sisters died from drugs and I didn’t want to be next.
PPP staff then got me on the suboxone program where I had a case manager that helped me with my probation in two counties. I then started volunteering with PPP. I found a sense of community where people actually cared about me. I didn’t think this was possible. I lost my whole family and NEVER met anyone who cared about me the way PPP did. They gave me hope. I was seeing people I used to get high with working there as case managers. I always wanted to give back and have a real job. I did well in the program and stopped using drugs and started to volunteer more and more.
I can honestly say PPP saved my life. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
It was in 2016 that I was asked to work in the shelter program they were starting at PPP. I was so grateful for this job. No one trusted me when PPP gave me this job, but I was determined to prove myself. I knew I didn’t want to get high anymore. I had seen how the drugs had made me lose everything. I didn’t want that life. I just kept showing up and PPP and they kept giving me more and more hours. The staff there became like a family to me.
I walked off the five-year probation that everyone told me would be a state sentence. They helped me get my GED. Without PPP I would have NEVER gotten my diploma. They gave me HOPE when I had none. I can honestly say PPP saved my life. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I think every neighborhood should have a Prevention Point.
Through the experience of working for PPP, I was able to get a better job where I help women who use substances and help them get into treatment. I found my purpose through working for PPP and am now living a healthy lifestyle and helping others find hope.