Many people have a negative opinion of addiction as well as to those who suffer with it. They are of the belief that addiction is something that affects a particular type of person, and this belief is usually fuelled by things they have seen on TV or in the movies.
The idea that addiction only affects those who are poor or from a deprived background is completely incorrect. Absolutely anyone can be affected by addiction regardless of their age, race, background, religion, and wealth. A case in point is the news that a very successful business person has found himself behind bars due to his actions caused by an addiction to â€˜legal highsâ€™.
Peter Cunliffeâ€™s addiction to new psychoactive substances, or â€˜legal highsâ€™ as they were formerly known as, spiralled out of control, and he risked losing the business he had worked hard to establish. He began taking the deadly legal high â€˜Spiceâ€™ and quickly developed an addiction that destroyed his life.
As his addiction to the drug worsened, he was forced to hand over his business responsibilities to others. He then became so desperate for the drug that he started stealing; he is now behind bars for threatening a store detective at M&S with a knife.
Cunliffe was with another man and woman on July 1st (2016) when he tried to steal a sandwich from an M&S store. All three were taken to a room within the shop, where the store detective, Melanie Sergeant, asked them to empty their pockets. Cunliffe took a screwdriver and a handsaw blade from his pockets, but when Ms Sergeant picked up the blade, Cunliffe quickly grabbed it and said, â€œIf you are calling the f****** police, Iâ€™ll give them a reason to come.â€
The threatening behaviour terrified Ms Sergeant, and she told a colleague to let him go because she was worried he might stab someone. Cunliffe then laughed and dropped the blade before saying, â€œI shouldnâ€™t have done that.â€
However, when he was led away from the store, he said to Ms Sergeant, â€œIâ€™ll remember your face. Boom.â€ He also used his fingers to make a gun gesture.
Cunliffeâ€™s behaviour had been described as swinging between shouting and swearing and being polite. It was discovered that he had a devastating addiction to new psychoactive substances and at the time of his arrest he had eight pills on his person.
During sentencing, Judge Robert Altham told him, â€œYour recent history has been one of continued offending, certainly for the last couple of years, and I accept that the cause of all your offending has been your addiction to legal highs and mind-changing drugs. By and large, when you are not under the influence of these drugs you are capable of behaving normally, but when you are under the influence, your behaviour is bizarre.â€
He pointed out that the theft of a sandwich is not a very serious matter, but his behaviour afterwards was. He added, â€œWhen the store detective asked you to go back to the office you did so, but as time went on your behaviour became more and more bizarre. They werenâ€™t to know you probably had no intention of hurting them. If you have got a sharp object and are uttering nasty threats, then it can happen. You said as much. You shouldnâ€™t have done that. Through your befuddled state you realised you were behaving badly, although a few minutes later you were uttering threats again, even after the police arrived.â€
Cunliffe was given a twelve-month prison sentence.
Help for Addiction
Peter Cunliffe is proof that addiction can happen to absolutely anyone. A successful business person, he lost everything because of his devastating addiction to â€˜legal highsâ€™. The good news is that help is available for addiction, and even those with the most severe addictions can manage to overcome their illness with the right help and support.
For more information on how to overcome any addiction, contact us here at BlueSkies Recovery.