Russell Brand on drugs
Comic Russell Brand faced one of his tougher audiences – the House of Commons home affairs select committee on drug addiction. Understandably he kept the gags to a minimum.
Brand was there to talk about his own experiences and views on the effective treatment of addiction. Having been arrested on several occasions for possession of drugs, and treated for his addiction, he was in a position to offer some valuable insights.
Although not calling for the decriminalisation of drugs, he did think it was more helpful to treat addiction as a medical condition rather than an issue of criminality. He asked for addicts to be treated with "love and compassion".
"We don't want to discard people by writing them off on methadone and leaving them on the sidelines," he said. He told the committee that his addiction was rooted in psychological and emotional issues that needed to be addressed before he could deal effectively with his addiction.
He dismissed the idea that he could be a figurehead or role model for addicts looking to fight their problems. "Who cares about bloody celebrities? Their role is insignificant," he said. He believed it was more important to recognise the issues that lie behind addiction, and deal with them with "truth and authenticity".
He did manage to slip in the occasional one-liner. Committee chairman Keith Vaz asked Brand if he had been arrested roughly 12 times. Brand replied "yes, it was rough". Asked not to treat the committee as a variety show, he replied that it looked more like Dad’s Army to him.