Man once busted for ‘puppy fraud’ graduates Salt Lake Drug Court

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Chad Nielson started using drugs when he was 11 years old. He says it started with marijuana and as his life continued he says, “I’ve touched it all.” 

Nielson says after years of drug use, homelessness, and being in and out of jail, he realized he had lost it all, and he was finally done.  

He spent five years in active heroin addiction and has been in and out of jail throughout his life. Now he helps other addicts going through addiction recovery programs as a certified peer support specialist at Odyssey House. 

In September 2016, Nielson sold husky puppies online. Police say online buyers would contact Nielson who would collect the money and then never return their calls. 

“I went from that to just finally being done with it. I just wanted to be sober, I wanted my family back I wanted my life back. I  know there are better things out there for me and this is just a start for me like this is only the beginning.” 

He entered the Third District Salt Lake City Drug Court in June 2018 and on Monday, July 29, 2019, 33-year-old Nielson graduated. 

Nielson tells ABC4 News he entered Cornerstone Rehab in November 2018 and year to date is 467 days sober. 

Neilson says he was against drug court when he first started, but now that he’s graduated, he has the skills to stay away from the plateau zone.

“You know when you’re waiting for in life you know what’s coming up next. So like it just keeps going up for me…it’s not this is not the end at all this is the beginning of everything.” 

Nielson says the key to staying clean is to “keep real solid boundaries” and to “not feel any remorse.”

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