Russell Brand Urges 'Compassion' for Drug Addicts
Russell Brand testified before a British parliamentary committee today about drug use and said he believes "love and compassion" are the key to helping addicts overcome substance abuse.
"We need to change the laws in this country and have a more compassionate, altruistic, loving attitude to the people with the disease of addiction," said Brand, who has struggled in the past with his own addiction issues. He added that society should not simply "discard people, write them off on methadone and leave them on the sidelines."
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"It is something I consider to be an illness, and therefore more of a health matter than a criminal or judicial matter," he told the committee reviewing Britain's current anti-drug policies. "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."
The Get Him to the Greek star also said he would not be opposed to the legalization of drugs because he believes that arrests don't deter addicts. "I'm not a legal expert. I'm saying that, to a drug addict, the legal aspect is irrelevant. If you need to get drugs, you will. The criminal and legal status, I think, sends the wrong message. Being arrested isn't a lesson, it's just an administrative blip."