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Justin Hughes was stuck in substance use disorder, which led him to crime, jail and prison. He thought addiction was going to be part of him for the rest of his life.

My life was stuck in substance use disorder, which led to crime, which led to jail and prison. I thought addiction was going to be part of me for the rest of my life.

In 2011, I was sent back to prison on a parole violation and went into the Con-Quest treatment program. On my first night there, I went to a 12 Steps meeting and I surrendered. I started to make huge changes. I finally got it. In one meeting a speaker shared his story about going to prison, getting humble, working in a treatment center and going to college to be a counselor. I was like, ‘If that dude can do it, I can do it.’

I want to be an agent of change. Everyone’s awareness needs to be raised about addiction and the stigma that comes into play when people make mistakes. People can heal, but we’ve got to let them heal.”

— Justin Hughes, senior in Social Work, events coordinator for Recover at the U, president Bachelor of Social Work Student Association, chapter leader for Young People in Recovery

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