Former Addict Speaks Against Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

From spiraling out of control to full blown recovery, a Manchester man is sharing his compelling story of addiction only with NBC Connecticut’s Alyana Gomez.

Today Peter Helms walks the streets a free man. Through lockup in an enclosed cell and the dark hole of his heroin addiction, he saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I currently am attending Eastern as a Business Administration major. I also started my own company, a dream I never thought was possible," Helms said.

Helms said he was introduced to drugs and alcohol at the age of 13.

"I dabbled with marijuana as a young teen," he said.

However, it wasn't until after a trip to the ER for his appendicitis that his addiction began to take hold of him.

"I was sent on my way with a full prescriptions of some dangerously addictive opioid medications,” said Helms.

When those ran out, he desperately called a friend for more.

"He got those from his mother’s cabinet and before I knew it he was at my door with a handful of some oxycontin," said Helms.

Easy access to opioids is one of the reasons why Helms is working with the Governor's Prevention Partnership reminding people to mind their meds.

"The plea here is to have people to understand the dangers and dispose of meds they're not using,” said Jill Spineti, president and CEO of Governors Prevention Partership in Wethersfield.

It wasn’t long before Helms' addiction landed him in jail.

"Me and my cousin we decided to rob a drug dealer to support our habits," he said.

Helms spent five years behind bars thinking about getting clean and eventually did.

"Really recognizing that there are people out there who have compassion towards people who have been through things that I have been through and are willing to be supportive and helpful. That just really lifted me off the ground," said Helms.

Walking on his own, freed from confinement and most importantly his addiction.

The Mind Your Meds campaign is going on right now. People are encouraged to bring their unwanted prescriptions to drop off location at police departments across Connecticut.

Next week, the bill that could legalize recreational marijuana will be heard by many people, including the Governors Prevention Partnership are expected to attend and voice their concerns.

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