We tend to think hard drugs are hard to come by. We feel they are reserved for sensationalized television shows or hardened criminals. We think it could never happen to us.
The harsh reality is that anyone is just a few texts away from scoring heroin.
This has to change.
The Jeremy Castro Foundation is a nonprofit organization helping people addicted to heroin and their families find hope for the future.
We are a passionate group of people who will stand strong in the fight against heroin. We will work until every family in the community knows about the dangers of heroin, until every person who is addicted to this destructive drug finds peace.
We are also a judgement-free zone. Too often, people struggling with addiction feel isolated. They feel that even if they do share their struggle, their friends and family will only judge them for it.
This is partly because of the negative way in which the media portrays heroin and the “bad” people addicted to the drug. Again, the reality is that heroin addiction can happen to anyone.
When it does happen, we want people to feel welcome, to understand they are not alone. They do not have to hide their struggles – there is an entire community of people here committed to helping guide them through this trying time.
We are much stronger than heroin, but only if we stand together.
When Jeremy Castro passed away, our family was left with more questions than answers. Going through the difficult process of making sense of this pain, we realized there is not much out there to help families who are in similar situations cope with this grief.
Aside from minor assemblies at school, no one offers real education about the dangers of drugs and the damage they can cause a person and their loved ones.
These are two major problems, especially with a drug as deadly as heroin. We founded this nonprofit with two main goals in mind:
To be a dedicated resource for people struggling with addiction to find help, and to realize there is always hope.
To provide a space for people with addictions and their families to learn, grow, grieve, and share their experiences to help others going through the same hard times.
These goals are the foundation for the community we have built here, and will continue to inspire all that we do.
Learn more about how we achieve these goals through reading about our programs.
Jeremy was kind, loving, smart, funny, and a compassionate young man. He had an infectious laugh, a captivating smile, loved his family, friends, soccer and his dog Gus. He was quiet by nature with a witty sense of humor, and was always willing to lend a helping hand.
Jeremy grew up in Newbury Park, California. He was a dedicated athlete to his chosen sport of soccer, and like many other people with addictions, lived a relatively normal life. Raised in a loving family, with traditional values, Jeremy enjoyed a safe, secure and carefree lifestyle.
Then one night at a party when he was about 21, he was asked "Do you want to feel the best you've ever felt in your life?" While he thought about the question, he ultimately said yes. That was the first time Jeremy was introduced to heroin and the last time he had full control over his life. It was that simple to become addicted.
Jeremy battled his addiction for the remainder of his life. He entered rehab several times, moved out of state, completed school and aggressively pursued his chosen career, all in the attempts of staying clean.
Like all of us, Jeremy had passions, fears, regrets, and dreams. In fact, the day Jeremy passed, he was due at his new job as an EMT, on his way to becoming a fireman. Jeremy always felt if he could make it to this point, he could and would, kick his habit. We all thought it was a new beginning, a great new chapter in Jeremy’s book.
Finding him that morning, feeling the intuitive panic of calling his name with no response… knowing he had already left this earth, knowing he had lost his fight against heroin – it is a pain no one should have to endure.
Jeremy’s passing was devastating. It tore a hole through our hearts that nothing else will fill.
But while it was heartbreaking, Jeremy’s story also offers us a glimmer of hope. A hope that through our experiences, through our loss, others may find their way out of addiction.
The stigma around addiction makes the people who struggle with it feel like they are worthless. They feel like everyone else has it together, and they are the only ones with these issues. They feel alone and are plagued with shame. They have no one to talk to, no one who understands them. Sure, there are plenty of people who will look down on them or tell them to “get it together” – but what about compassion?
If Jeremy taught us anything, it is that there is no shame in addiction. It can happen to anyone. Heroin addiction is not reserved for run-down houses and dark alleys. It finds its way into white picket fences and suburban cul de sacs just as easily.
The face of an addict is not the face of a dangerous criminal. It is the smiling face of a young man, excited about his new job. It is a face that needs understanding and direction more than fear and discipline.
Everyone deserves to live a full and happy life. The Jeremy Castro Foundation was created in Jeremy’s honor, to help make sure that people who struggle with addiction have the opportunity to do just that.
Being an addict should not, and does not, define you. You are not a victim of the darkness of addiction. You are not helpless to its power. You are not hopeless, you are not alone.
If Jeremy’s legacy is anything, let it be a legacy of the people helped in his name. Of reaching out to those who need it most. Hand in hand, we can make heroin addiction a thing of the past.