Most people assume that those suffering addictions are bad or immoral, but the reality is that these individuals are just like everyone else apart from the fact that they are struggling with a destructive illness that has affected their ability to think clearly and make sound judgements. In fact, those affected by alcoholism and drug addiction will often make decisions that could lead to harm or take unnecessary risks. This is because their brain has been affected by the chemical substance they have come to rely on.
One man who took a huge risk is Robert Harrison from Southampton, who drank a bottle of vodka before taking the decision to get behind the wheel of his car.
On December 13th 2016, Harrison downed a bottle of vodka before driving up the busy M3 motorway and was only stopped when a worried driver reported him for swerving across the motorway lanes. After he was stopped, he was breathalysed and his reading was so high it did not register on the scale for sentencing guidelines. Magistrates described being ‘shocked’ at the amount of alcohol that was in his system.
It is a miracle that nobody was killed, and both Harrison and everyone else on the road that day had a lucky escape. Brake, the leading road safety charity, has described Harrison’s behaviour as ‘disgusting’.
Harrison admitted that he has problems with alcohol and said that most days he drinks at least 35cl of vodka. He also said that when he is having a bad day, he will drink twice that much. On the day in question, he was found to have 170 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath. With the legal limit being 35 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, he was nearly five times over the limit.
Magistrates sentenced him to eight weeks in prison, suspended for twelve months. He was also required to attend a 12-day rehabilitation programme and ordered to continue with alcohol treatment for six months. In addition, he was fined £200 and banned from driving for three years.
In sentencing, chair of the bench, David Wilson, said, “A reading of 170 has taken us all by surprise, I do not think anyone here has seen anything that high. It goes off the scale on our sentencing guidelines and we have to protect the public. We are not going to send you to prison today, but I must warn you how very close you were to going down.”
Rosemary Nand, defending Harrison, explained that her client had driven to Bristol on December 13th for a job, but he was frustrated when the person he was to meet did not show up. He drove back to Southampton and made a ‘bad decision’ when he drank a bottle of vodka. He then made an even worse decision by getting behind the wheel of his car.
She also explained that Harrison had overcome a drug addiction but had replaced that addiction with alcoholism. However, she said that he was trying to turn his life around and had recently moved in with his girlfriend, who was supporting him.
Harrison said that he had not driven his car since his arrest and had already reached out for help for his alcoholism.
A spokesperson for Brake praised the judge for the alcohol treatment order given as part of Harrison’s sentence, but added, “It is extremely fortunate that no-one was killed by Mr Harrison’s disgusting, selfish and destructive behaviour.”
Help for Addiction
Those with an addiction to alcohol do not drink out of choice; they have no control over their urge to drink, and they need help to overcome this issue. Here at Recovery Lighthouse, we provide that help. Contact us today if you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction. Our comprehensive treatment programmes could help you to turn your life around once more.
Source: ‘Disgusting’ driver who drank a bottle of vodka before swerving along a Hampshire motorway slammed by road safety charity (Daily Echo)