PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Phoenix father is trying to expose the opioid epidemic in our community through a YouTube channel with the hopes that it will save lives.
"I'm trying to put a story, a face, too many of the lost souls that are out there," said 46-year-old Art Castro, who works as an operations manager.
He started Lost in Phoenix back in November, documenting the stories of the young, the homeless, and the addicted, and his videos are now racking up thousands of views.
Castro films his one-take interviews with a GoPro, walking up to people he suspects are living on the streets and using drugs.
"It's gonna be a girl," said a pregnant woman who only wanted to be identified as Vanessa.
Friday, Castro shot an update video with her. Vanessa said it was her due date and that she was continuing to use opioids through her pregnancy.
"I've been OK. I'm a little nervous but I've been OK," Vanessa said.
Vanessa said she knew she wouldn't be able to keep her little girl.
"I want to be there for my kid," Vanessa said. "I want to go back to my regular life. Like, I don't want to be out here."
Castro often hands out bags with personal hygiene items and gift cards donated by his viewers to the people he interviews.
"That definitely could have been me," Castro said, speaking about the people he interviews.
Hannah Cupp's death was far from isolated last year. While the world focused on the coronavirus pandemic, the growing opioid epidemic showed no signs of slowing down.
Castro grew up in downtown Phoenix during the 1980s, back when it could be a rough part of town.
"It's good having that knowledge of how tough the streets are," he said.
He now lives on Phoenix's West Side.
"How do we save our community? And empower them to make better decisions?" Castro said.
Castro's mission is to document the damage opioids are inflicting on the people who live here, showing the human cost of addiction.
"If we keep going at this rate without anybody bringing attention to it, we're going to lose a generation of young folks," Castro said.
He's doing this all in the hopes that he can keep some on the right road.
"How can you help bring awareness?" he asked.
He has a message for those who are lost.
"We're just trying to help them get found," he said.