Addiction and How It Can End in Prison

Nobody decides that they want to become a drug addict or alcoholic; it is an illness that affects some people. Once they are in the grip of it, it can be almost impossible to break free. Those who do find themselves affected by serisou issues such as heroin addiction may resort to desperate measures to get their hands on the substance they crave. Some will even commit crimes if they feel they have no other way to get the drugs they need. This almost always results in innocent victims, and it can devastate lives.

Is There a Link Between Crime and Addiction?

There is no doubting the fact that addiction is something that requires money. Those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol will need money to fund their habit. Nevertheless, as their addiction progresses, the affected individual will need more of the substance he or she desired, therefore needing more money. Add to this the fact that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can affect a person’s ability to earn money and you can soon start to see where the problems begin.

Those finding it difficult to source cash to fund their habit may feel they have no other option but to steal. This is what Stephen Cooper did in a bid to feed his crippling heroin habit. He has now been jailed for thirty months after targeting vulnerable men, once while accompanied by his four young children.

Does Addiction Affect More than the User?

Many addicts can be heard saying that they are not harming anyone but themselves, believing that they should be just left to their own devices. However, that is hardly ever the case; in relation to Stephen Cooper, his addiction had a devastating effect on the men he stole from, and his children will no doubt be feeling the effects for a long time now that their father is behind bars.

Cooper was with his four children in November 2015 when he targeted a vulnerable man and told him that he owed him £15. He was aggressive towards the victim, prodding and poking him before pulling his hair and taking his wallet. He then took £20 from it before walking away laughing, all in the presence of his kids.

In November 2016, he targeted another vulnerable man by entering this person’s home and encouraging the man to pray with him. While the man had his eyes closed, Cooper stole £105 from a notebook. According to prosecuting solicitor Gregory Gordon, “The money was the victim’s disability living allowance – it was all the money he had in the world.”

Should Addicts be Prosecuted or Treated?

Cooper’s actions were carried out because of his crippling heroin addiction. His defence solicitor Patrick Mason said, “There was a pattern of behaviour because he had lapsed back into his addiction. But there have been periods of stability in his life when he has held down employment. At this period of his life, he had moved from Wincanton to Yeovil and had fallen back into his bad habits. He is now free from drugs – he is off all substances and for the first time in his life has asked for help with his drug problem.”

Despite having tried to get his life back on track with help from professionals, Judge Robert Linford had no option but to impose a custodial sentence. He said that Cooper had not set a good example for his children and had left one victim terrified to go outside or let people into his home. He said, “You took money that was not yours to take, because of your out of control drug habit. That money might not have seemed like very much to you, but my goodness, it was everything to the people you stole from.”

Source: Heroin addict Stephen Cooper stole from praying man and attacked vulnerable victim in front of kids (Somerset Live)


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