Russell Brand defends drug addicts

Illegal substance abusers should not be sent to prison — instead, they should get treatment, according to Russell Brand. The actor/comedian spoke before the British Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee as to his reasoning why addicts should not be treated with criminal punishments. Though usually known for his off-beat comedy, the funnyman spoke seriously about the issue, saying, “It is something I consider to be an illness, and therefore more of a health matter than a criminal or judicial matter. It is more important that we regard people suffering from addiction with compassion and there is a pragmatic rather than a symbolic approach to treating it.” He also added, “Addicts who get clean one day at a time through abstinence-based recovery generally stop committing crime. That’s better for victims, that’s better for the addicts, that’s better for society.” As far as the legalization of drugs, Brand said it’s not important, because addicts don’t care whether drugs are legal or not. ~Renita Naraine

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Lloyd • April 26, 2012 @ 11:09 AM

    Watching the video of him speaking was really inspiring. Say what you want about the man or think him unfunny (personally, I think he’s hilarious!), but he is articulate, quick witted, an quite an eloquent speaker. Don’t judge him on his appearance or past, and his movies aren’t hits either, but he just seems likable (watch his interviews).

  2. steve • April 26, 2012 @ 9:39 AM

    Of course he would defend them…didnt he used to be one of them

  3. janet • April 26, 2012 @ 5:19 PM

    I think he’s smart and very well spoken. And for the comment above so what if he was “one of them”… that certainly makes him know what he’s talking about and gives him the right to make such comments…… unlike you Steve.

  4. Lou • April 26, 2012 @ 11:38 AM

    In one paragraph, Russell Brand makes more sense and evokes more compassion than 90% of government officials and politicians. Add this to the fact that he walked away from Katy Perry’s millions when his marriage broke up, and this man may become one of my favourite actors and personalities. Would that actual lawmakers had 1% of Brand’s humanity, compassion and understanding.

  5. marina harvey • April 26, 2012 @ 11:51 AM

    Many pre-diagnosed sufferers of bi-polar, schizophrenia, and personality disorders,

    become partakers of illicit street drugs, it is initial relief from these ailments

    however the results are traumatic and the end result are addiction and criminal records, sad

  6. Sara • April 26, 2012 @ 11:54 AM

    Prison will only make a drug addict worse. They have hospitals for the criminally insane, why not have hospitals for drug addicts convicted of crimes?! Rehabilitation should be higher on the list for any type of criminal.

  7. Jerry • April 26, 2012 @ 12:05 PM

    He certainly makes a fair point about legalization of drugs… addicts don’t care either way.

  8. Wendy • April 26, 2012 @ 1:36 PM

    Since he has walked-the-walk….he has license to talk the talk….the gov’t should listen.

  9. TheTruth • April 26, 2012 @ 1:47 PM

    Once again, my hero.

  10. Melissa • April 26, 2012 @ 2:47 PM

    I honestly think this is one of smartest things that I have ever heard Russel Brand say. Good for him. True he is a funny man, but good to see the good/serious side to him as well. Love him that much more! Big fan!

  11. DAN • April 26, 2012 @ 6:56 PM

    I use to be an addict i was in and out of jail until i got help in treatment.After i got out i was a new person so thanks Russel you tell them. and thanks alot.

  12. Kat • April 26, 2012 @ 7:15 PM

    He’s got a point…

  13. Sandra • April 26, 2012 @ 8:20 PM

    Addicts can be highly persuasive, charismatic and manipulative. Nothing about this man is trustworthy or genuine IMO.

  14. Joseph • April 26, 2012 @ 10:43 PM

    I agree with his thoughts and words completely , But
    there is still the matter of accountability, If Everyone took sanctuary behind being an addict, then crimes would literally be unaccounted for. I agree that there are people out there, that do have drug tendencies & are fighting a serious illness, but one has to remember balance. I say if a crime has been committed on a grander scale by a person with this illness, they should still be tried normally, but they should also get a lesser sentence IF the committed steps forward to seek medical & psychiatric help

  15. gbh999 • April 27, 2012 @ 9:23 AM

    Accordingly, no one should be responsible for their actions. No matter how old they are. It has to be society’s fault, right?
    It must be a minor miracle, that the rest of us, have our head screwed on right, and never needed “illegal drugs”, to get along in life.
    When people like Brand speak out, they remove all doubt.
    What are the chances that my church will invite someone like Brand, to come in on Sunday, and speak for all the weak minded, shit-for-brains people, who can’t make it through life, on their own. Anyone want to donate to this cause? The next collection plate, is for all the dopers! God bless you, son.

  16. C-Dub • April 27, 2012 @ 1:21 PM

    Prison=more drugs! You do things to stay alive in there.
    Actual treatment centres: Give you the tools to succeed and really it’s up to you to accept the tools and have the will power to get clean. That’s a tough mix but prison isn’t the answer.
    Punishment for buying and using or selling or all of that can’t be an answer. I like to see stats where that system is working vs. treatment centres. And we aren’t talking vacatino drug treatment centres, I’m talking hardcore, get clean and on a program and get checked up regularily centres.
    For a man who always critisized his Gov and threw pies in their faces, to now have enough celebrity clout to have a voice for the people and use that voice on a subject he is proving he knows about and is currently succeeding in, then good for him!

  17. Em • April 27, 2012 @ 1:47 PM

    Wow – gbh999. You go to church? And you are so condemning on a subject you seem very naive about? I never cared much for Russel Brand until I read his words in regards to Amy Winehouse. It was beautiful. For anyone who has had addiction in their lives, be it themselves, a loved one, a close friend or a co-worker, you will know it is easier said than done to walk away from the addiction. The definition of addiction is: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Does this sound easy? And drug addiction isnt about the weak-minded. Someone curious, depressed, fun-minded, shy and wants to be more out-going are only a small example of those who will become addicted. Drugs such as crack or crystal meth have almost an immediate effect on the user and can cause dependency within one or two uses. It’s a living hell for those ensconced in it’s talons. I would never think to criticize an addict – when I see someone obviously in the grasp of addiction, I can only wonder when and where things went wrong, and pray they can find the resources to find their back. God bless Russell Brand for bringing awareness to this need and complete understanding.

  18. gbh999 • April 28, 2012 @ 7:28 AM

    Been there… Done that!!
    There is the right way , and there is the wrong way. There are forks in all roads. You, and you alone, make the choice, in the path you take. If you make the wrong choice, you have to turn around, and find your way back.
    There are too many people who have made the wrong choice, and are sitting on the side of the road, with their head in their hands, waiting for someone to come along, and do the heavy lifting for them. It is not society’s job,to come along and spend resources, to clean up your pathetic act, when you are not man enough, to face the situation head on. This is where responsibility and a clear head, must be allowed to take control. Otherwise, your chances of seeing the light, are slim, and none. I don’t just talk the talk, I have walked the walk. Back from the wrong fork, in the road. Character, has been built, and has taken the place of self doubt. Nothing short of this will do. I will not be fooled again.

  19. Spanky • April 28, 2012 @ 2:53 PM

    HAHAHAHA, gbh999 your an idiot! Wow are you dumb, talk about calling the kettle black! You say addicts are weak minded but yet you go to church and beg for the love and forgiveness of a make believe man in the sky. You believe in a man made myth because your weak little mind can’t handle the truth, so don’t be calling addicts weak minded you goof. People in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones!

    Russel Brand makes absolute sense, if you want to rehabilitate criminals with addiction problems then don’t just lock them away, treat the problem. Help them help themselves out of addiction and you will help someone become a productive member of society then a future criminal. His plan benifits everyone and not just the penal system.

  20. gbh999 • April 28, 2012 @ 7:31 PM

    If you are looking for Spanky, try the new needle exchange, in east Vancouver, any morning of the week. He/she will probably have their name on their shirt, in case somebody else is giving away freebies, with his/her name on it. Or is it the clinic in Amsterdam, or in the line-up forming, at the soon to be opened clinic in Toronto. Good luck, with your delusional life. The rest of us, are at work, doing our little part, to support society. It never ends.

  21. yuck • May 1, 2012 @ 12:28 AM

    I really like Russell Brand and I’m sure he speaks from the heart of someone with experience. Clearly he is someone, once an addict, who “made it” but I had a friend whose brother was an addict and robbed his mother on a few occasions, pawning family heirlooms, stealing money, etc. I don’t think treating them is such a bad idea but if they commit crimes and such, they should be treated away from the public, and if treatment doesn’t seem to be working, just give them what any other criminal would get. These treatment methods don’t work the same way for everyone, just the same as AA is not effective for all alcoholics. Sometimes this approach only serves to indulge the addict.

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