Russell Brand served as an advocate for recovering drug addicts at BBC’s Question Time in London, where he served as a panelist alongside the Mayor of London among others. During the broadcast, the recovering heroin addict turned comedian and actor spoke publicly about his former addiction and the drug problems currently plaguing the United Kingdom. When discussing drug laws, Brand declared that he does not feel the current drug policies are working because drug addicts will take drugs regardless of what the law says. He pointed out that drug addiction is an emotional, psychological and social issue rather than a criminal one. By ordering drug addicts to serve jail time, the current laws create a stigma around addiction and cause those in need of professional help to become more hesitant to seek out treatment.
Brand went on to recommend that drug addicts and people with dependency issues be treated with compassion and empathy, rather than the harsh criminalization that current laws require. His participation in this discussion panel in London is one of several highly public events Brand has been involved in lately, showing that he strives to be a positive role model and advocate for those struggling with the same problems he once did. Before cleaning up for good in 2003, Brand was arrested twelve times and had serious heroin, alcohol, and sex addiction issues. As one who has had first hand experience with drug laws in the United Kingdom and their effect on the habit, he was very adamant that drug addicts will find a way to use drugs no matter what unless they feel comfortable seeking the professional help they desperately need. The Mayor of London, despite this perspective, declared that he feels the drug laws are working because drug related crime is on the decline. Because of this, the mayor mentioned that he would be reluctant to change the laws.
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