Belfast Telegraph

Brand talks drugs on Question Time

Russell Brand has appeared on Question Time and said people suffering with drug addiction are more interested in getting the correct treatment than whether drugs are decriminalised or not.

The 38-year-old comedian - a recovering drug addict - told the BBC's topical debate programme he believed in "abstinence-based" treatment.

He said: "I don't think drug laws are working because people take drugs all the time. People will take drugs because of social, psychological and emotional reasons."

He continued: "For me it's not about the drug laws, it's about treating people with addiction issues in a compassionate and empathetic way. As a recovering drug addict myself, when I was using drugs I didn't care if drugs were illegal.

"If I need drugs because I'm in pain inside, I'm taking drugs and I know this to be true of drug addicts all over our country. If you criminalise them and marginalise them, you place an industry in the hands of criminals and you make it difficult and shaming for them to get treatment. That is the wrong way to handle the situation.

"We have to reach out to people compassionately - then we have a chance of achieving a solution."

Asked by the show's host David Dimbleby if he would like all drugs to be decriminalised, Brand said: "I don't like to get drawn on that because I am dealing with this in a very direct way in that people who are suffering from drugs problems don't care about the law, they care about getting the correct treatment which I believe is abstinence-based treatment."

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