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UArizona student overcomes opioid addiction, served prison time to graduate

Posted at 10:22 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 09:57:23-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Students a part of the class of 2020 at the University of Arizona are getting ready to take part in a virtual graduation, happening Friday, May 15.

Among the graduates is Zach Stout, a student, who at one point in his life found himself addicted to opioids and even served time in prison.

In his early 20's Stout told KGUN9 he was addicted to opioid drugs.

“Basically, I started taking some pain killers and things kind of went downhill from there," he said.

Stout said in order to support his drug habit, he started selling drugs. That led him to serve more than two years in prison.

After he was released from prison, Stout said he knew what he wanted to go to college.

“I had no idea how to function like a normal human being and let alone pursue a college degree, I thought that was just gone," he said.

Stout told KGUN9 he's passionate about criminal justice reform and wants to see lots of change within prisons.

“I see a lot of areas within the criminal system that could be reformed," Stout said.

Stout added he is excited for graduation, even though it'll be virtual this year.

“You know, you’ve been waiting your whole life for this moment and to not be able to walk or be there with everyone else is definitely different," he said.