Opioids in the Valley: Heroin addiction leads to tragedy for Indio family

Watch: Heroin addiction leads to tragedy

INDIO, Calif. - Almost every day, Tim Campbell would search for his son Dane Campbell on the streets of Indio. Dane struggles with heroin addiction. 

His father would often find him in places like behind the Indio mall and at fast food restaurants on Highway 111.

For years, Tim tried to get his son into treatment.

“I would tell him, 'Let's go to a 12-step program, let's go to a recovery, and I know you have been so many times but let's get you help,'” said Ted Campbell.

A few weeks ago Tim and his wife, Ronda Campbell, went on a trip and got the phone call that changed their lives forever.

"'He’s not waking up. He’s gone. I’m going to have to call you back.' And I know immediately then what had happened," said Tim Campbell.

Their son had died of a heroin overdose but it was not the son they thought it would be.

"It was just so overwhelming to me because I thought it was Dane. I thought it was going to be Dane. But it was Todd and he had four and a half years of clean time," said Tim Campbell.

Dane’s older brother Todd Campbell had also battled opioid addiction for years, but he was sober and living in Simi Valley with his wife while running a small business. At some point, without the family knowing, Todd had relapsed.

"He was hiding it and he didn’t want us to know. He had told his best friend 'do not tell us I am going to beat this thing,'" Ronda Campbell said.

The Campbell’s think they know why Todd did not survive.

"He went two weeks without using but when he used that night that took his life he didn’t decrease the dosage. Your body can’t take the same dosage and they don’t know this," Ronda Campbell said.

Trump: Opioid crisis is a national emergency

It’s a deadly and growing trend being seen across the country over the past decade.

Statics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show a sharp rise in people dying from heroin overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 2009 to 2013, 543 people in Riverside County died from opioid overdoses and 196 of those where from heroin.

After Todd’s death, Dane did decide to go back to rehab, which he has done more than a dozen times before. The fear of relapse still hangs over the Campbell family and will for the rest of their lives.

"When he gets out he can not go back to using the same dosage or he will go to sleep and he won’t wake up," Ronda Campbell said.

The Campbell’s said they want to help other people here in the Coachella Valley dealing with opioid addiction so other families don’t have to suffer this tragedy and to have their loved ones become part of a growing statistic.

Here is a list of resources people can use if they are struggling with heroin addiction.


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