Comedian and actor Russell Brand went before Parliament today and gave testimony to a parliamentary committee that was reviewing the U.K. drug policy and the actor calls for the government to have a more compassionate action towards drug addicts.
"By regarding addiction as an illness, by offering treatment instead of a more punitive approach, we can prevent people from committing crimes," Brand told members of Parliament, before opening up about his own struggles with heroin addiction. "Personally, I was a criminal when I was a drug addict by virtue of my addiction and the ways that I had to acquire money to get drugs."
Russell Brand believes that the best way to help eliminate drug-related crimes and stop people from using drugs is to start treating drug addiction as a health and social welfare issue rather than it being a criminal issue. The comedian did end up cracking a few jokes in front of Parliament but for the most part he was very serious because after all this is a very serious subject which Brand brought out with this plea "I think there needs to be love and compassion for everybody involved," said Brand. "If people are committing criminal behavior, then it needs to be dealt with legally, but you need to offer them treatment."
Later Brand was asked if he believed that he could be a great role model for today’s children and Brand answered by quoting the late actor/rapper Tupac Shakur saying “Role is something people play, model is something that people make, both of those things are fake.’"
Russell Brand was actually pretty open and honest about his battle to overcome his own drug addiction and about how he felt society perceives drug addicts. If recall after the death of Russell Brand’s friend musician Amy Winehouse Brand wrote a beautiful and compassionate blog posts in which the comedian honored his departed friend while at the same time urge those with drug issues to seek treatment and claimed that addiction should be treated the same way you would treat a potentially fatal disease.
Russell Brand says he’s been clean and sober now for the past eight years still attend AA meetings three times a week in order to keep his sobriety and addiction in check.
Russell Brand is truly a success story for people who have overcome addiction because I’m impressed that he was able to overcome his serious heroine addiction that he had in the past and hopefully by him speaking before Parliament some changes will be made and if nothing else it will encourage people with addiction and drug problems to seek help because they’re not alone and everyone deserves a chance at life.
In the clip below Russell Brand talks with Parliament: