Russell Brand: ‘Drug addicts ill not criminals’ - do you agree with his views?

08:10 25 April 2012

Comedian Russell Brand answers questions on drugs policy as he gives evidence to the home affairs select committee at the House of Commons

Comedian Russell Brand answers questions on drugs policy as he gives evidence to the home affairs select committee at the House of Commons

Comedian Russell Brand has said drug addiction should be treated as an illness and not seen as a criminal matter.

The flamboyant star told MPs reviewing the government’s drugs strategy that he had beaten his own heroin addiction.

He called for more help and support for those with the “condition of addiction”.

Asked for his views on spending less money on the policing of possession offences, Brand said: “I think that’s a brilliant idea.

“Penalising people for possession of drugs is costly and expensive.

“A good number of times I was arrested was simply for possession and the administrative costs of that would be better spent, I think, on education and addressing the costs of treatment.

“I think that would be a very, very sensible use of those redirected funds.”

He went on: “I’m not a legal expert, but I’m saying that to a drug addict, the legal status is irrelevant. It is at best an inconvenience.

“If you need to get drugs because you’re a drug addict, you’re going to get drugs regardless of their legal status so the more money you waste in administering and controlling that ... I think there’s a futility to it.”

Saying he backed decriminalisation, he went on: “I think that there’s a degree of cowardice and wilful ignorance around this condition (of addiction).

“It’s something we increasingly need to handle compassionately and pragmatically.

“The criminal and legal status, I think sends the wrong message, but I wouldn’t start banging a drum to make drugs legal.

“I don’t take any drugs and I don’t drink because for me they’re bad.

“We need to recognise the distinction that certain people have a condition or a tendency that drugs and alcohol are going to ruin their lives. We need to identify those people and offer them the correct treatment.”

Brand said society was wrong to criminalise addiction and said it should be treated as a potentially fatal illness instead.

“My message is for people that have this condition of addiction. If you have the condition of addiction there is help available for you and I recommend abstinence-based recovery,” he said.

“I think some people can safely take drugs, I think they can.

“As long as it doesn’t turn them into criminals or harm their health then I don’t feel as if it’s any of my business.

“So I’m not here to do some, ‘just say no’ stuff.

“Let’s have an authoritative, truthful, honest debate and some funding for abstinence-based recovery.”

Do you agree with Russell Brand’s view that fewer resources should be spent on criminalising drug addicts and more on helping them overcome their problems? Add your views in the comments box below.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Provided of course, you exercise some careful creativity.

Read more

The Roar singer is known for her off-the-wall fashion sense.

Read more

The Argentina star is set to go the way of Olly Murs.

Read more

Promotions

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

Dojo gives you hand picked recommendations for events, places and activities in London

Tired of always hearing about some amazing event in London after its gone, missing out on the best activities? That’s where Dojo comes in.

The family to which Ebola belongs could be as old as 23 million years.

The gaming industry’s answer to the Oscars has dished out its annual awards.

Potential female candidates are already being prepared for the upcoming diocese vacancies in Southwell, Nottingham, Gloucester and Oxford.

Watch the moment the Shadow Chancellor got interrupted by a daring arachnid.

TOP Stories

Yesterday, 17:48
The man stole the bus from south-east London (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A double decker bus was stolen and taken for a rather long drive in south-east London, through picturesque villages, before being dumped in a bus stop - with £500 worth of damage.

Yesterday, 14:24
The 91-year-old gave the cyclist a wallop

After Baroness Sharples bragged about walloping a cyclist, London24’s cycling blogger AViewOfLondon has this to say...

Yesterday, 14:03
Police are keen to talk to this man who was seen leaving the building at around the time of the assault [Photograph from Metropolitan Police]

Police are hunting a pervert who pretended he was a plumber before sexually assaulting a schoolgirl in a Bethnal Green flat.

London Bloggers

Yesterday, 14:24
The 91-year-old gave the cyclist a wallop

After Baroness Sharples bragged about walloping a cyclist, London24’s cycling blogger AViewOfLondon has this to say...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit:

Monday, September 1, 2014
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.