Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 31 January 2015

Russell Brand: Drug laws don’t work

Russell Brand

Russell Brand believes that drug laws are ineffective largely because addicts are criminalised.

The 38-year-old English comedian has been very vocal about his battle with substance abuse earlier in life.

He is an advocate for drug addicts and spoke about the issues facing his native country on BBC1’s TV talk programme Question Time.

The star calls for a massive overhaul of how the government relates to users.

"I don't think drug laws are working because people take drugs all the time,” he declared.

"People will take drugs because of social, psychological and emotional reason.

"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.”

The star believes putting substance abusers in jail is ineffective in dealing with the bigger picture.

Russell is convinced people take drugs to mask disturbed internal states.

"If I need drugs because I'm in pain inside, I'm taking drugs and I know this to be true of across drug addicts all over our country,” he said.

"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."

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