Russell Brand calls for drug law change, empathy & less shame for addicts

Russell Brand

Good news for Russell Brand fangirls (and boys) — there is plenty of Rusty news to be had today. Russell has been pounding the pavement pretty hard to promote his upcoming “Messiah Complex” tour. Sadly, news just came down the pike that Rusty has had to cancel some dates in the Middle East (primarily Abu Dhabi and Lebanon) because he’s had some credible theats upon his life; and the venues have informed him that the could not guarantee his safety in the event that these threats were taken to fruition. Rusty believes his tour poster might have something to do with the threats, but who knows. It’s difficult to make sense out of people who make death threats.

Let’s move onto a slightly cheerier topic, which is Russell’s immutable habit of skirt chasing. Rusty spoke to The Sun about how he tried very hard to get with Mila Kunis while they were filming Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but he was dismayed to find out she was dating the kid from Home Alone: “She’s gorgeous. She’s so gorgeous. I was chatting her up, and got the conversation around to, ‘Have you got a boyfriend?’ and she went, ‘Yeah.’ She’s talking about her boyfriend ‘Mac.’ Eventually, she said ‘My boyfriendโ€™s coming tomorrow.’ She was excited – and when he came it was not ‘Mac,’ it was Macaulay Culkin!” Poor guy. I’m sure Russell got over it and promptly commenced hitting on Kristen Bell.

Moving right along — these photos show Russell as a panel guest on “Question Time,” which is recorded live at London’s City Hall. Russell was arguing for a transformation in the way British law treats addicts (he has previously done so in an eloquent manner in front of Parliament). On this program, he was joined by a couple of MPs, the mayor of London, and a journalist (who, presumably, is more competent than those “Morning Joe” yahoos). Here’s a recap of the best quotes from the episode:

Russell Brand tonight called for a review of British drug laws during an appearance on BBC1’s Question Time. The former heroin addict criticised the current system and called for a rethink on the way drug users are treated. Brand was joined on the panel by MPs Tessa Jowell and Ed Davey, London mayor Boris Johnson and journalist Melanie Phillips.

Brand said: “I don’t think drug laws are working because people take drugs all the time. People will take drugs because of social, psychological and emotional reason. For me it’s not about the drug laws, it’s about treating people with addiction issues in a compassionate and empathetic way. As a recovering drug addict myself, when I was using drugs I didn’t care if drugs were illegal.

“If I need drugs because I’m in pain inside, I’m taking drugs and I know this to be true of across drug addicts all over our country. If you criminalise them and marginalise them, you place an industry in the hands of criminals and you make it difficult and shaming for them to get treatment. That is the wrong way to handle the situation. We have to reach out to people compassionately – then we have a chance of achieving a solution.”

Secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Davey, agreed that change was necessary. He said: “We need to look at the evidence. I think we do need to review the drug laws, I think we need to look at the evidence. Nick Clegg’s asked our ministerial colleague Jeremy Brown to look at the experience in Portugal, in Amsterdam, in some US, parts of the United States, in the Czech Republic and other places where they’ve changed some of the laws and let’s look at the evidence. If changing the law leads to a positive effect for society then we should consider that.”

And further agreeing with Brand, he added: “As Russell said if we can treat people with humanity when they’ve got an addiction and try to help them get off that addiction that can make a real difference to that person’s life and the wider society. I’m not convinced yet that we’ve won the war on drugs by any means there are still thousands of people dying from drugs, they scar communities, there are drug barons who are making billions from this.”

Brand declined to comment on whether all drugs should be decriminalised. He said: “I don’t like to get drawn on that because I am dealing with this in a very direct way in that people who are suffering from drugs problems don’t care about the law, they care about getting the correct treatment which I believe is abstinence-based treatment.”

[From The Mirror]

See? Important people care about what Russell has to say about addiction, and they are listening. Not too long ago, Rusty was shooting up under a bridge and in a dingy Hackney flat, and now he’s being taken seriously by the mayor of London and Parliament. This guy is making a difference, and the sentiments expressed here are similar to what Russell has already said about favoring absinence-based treatment; that is, he does not believe that heroin addicts should simply switch to methadone, which simply allows them to plug themselves into another state of addiction. This logic makes sense even if there’s never an easy answer to this social problem.

Oh, and Rusty paid lipservice on Twitter to how he schooled a certain MSNBC panel the other day while plugging a Gawker interview he gave about Bradley Manning. I won’t get into that political discussion here, but it’s very interesting if you’d care to read it.

Look, here’s Rusty imitating Miley Cyrus. He does that sometimes, you know.

Russell Brand

And here’s Russell all over the place in London over the past few days. Plan World Rusty Domination is on its way.

Russell Brand

Russell Brand

Russell Brand

Photos courtesy of WENN

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37 Responses to “Russell Brand calls for drug law change, empathy & less shame for addicts”

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  1. Launicaangelina says:

    Damn it! I love him and don’t care what anyone else thinks!

  2. Tulip says:

    Good for him. There is a HUGE stigma around the whole thing and a shift in attitude would be awesome.

  3. Fish says:

    I watched Question Time last night, and found Russell far more insightful than any of the MPs on the panel, and a tad more eloquent at times too.
    He really stuck out, as every time he spoke he was engaging the audience and speaking to them rather than at them.
    You could also see him get frustrated at the other members of the panel when the drug issue came up.
    By all means I think Rusty should continue to speak about these issues; he does so very well.

    • gloaming says:

      I watched it too. He was brilliant wasn’t he. That cow from the Daily Fail however is a bigoted see you next tuesday.

      • SIxer says:

        HA! I can’t remember the last time I saw someone say “see you next Tuesday”. Love that!

  4. dcypher1 says:

    He’s such an intelligent, funny man I love him. He’s rite about addiction. Addicts need sum compassion not laws. Drugs are easy to get illegal or not.

  5. kb says:

    I just realized Russell Brand has the same exact hair as me. Color and all. Sweet.

  6. Momoftwo says:

    I really love that he is trying to make a positive difference in the world as he learns from the mistakes he has made.

    On a side note…his jeans are always soooo tight and I don’t see any bulge…where is he hiding the “bangers and mash”?

  7. Gia says:

    I used to find him so offputting. He hosted the MTV Awards years ago and it was the first I had ever heard of him…he was so annoying and good lord his hair was this awful teased mess. Anyways, my point is I have since watched his appearance before Parliament and a few other interviews and am truly impressed by him.

    • gg says:

      I’m very impressed with this side of him and hope it offers social change. it’s high time (no pun intended) somebody pushed these ideas, and he has been emphatic, which is excellent. Unfortunately he also still seems to think being a misogynist pussy-chasing hound is cute. I’m afraid it might overshadow his other, very good messages.

      • bluhare says:

        He was upfront about being a sex addict and perhaps that’s the one thing he hasn’t put behind him.

        Yes, I can find him offputting at times, but underneath that exterior is a really brilliant mind.

      • gg says:

        I agree. He does need somebody to show him what is appropriate, respectful behavior towards woman and what is not.

  8. isadora says:

    I am currently going helping my partner and best mate through heroin detox and have found Russell Brand a source of comfort. His passion for the issue helps remind me I’m not an idiot for giving compassion and care when dealing with the absolute fuckery that comes with addiction.

    • Pip says:

      Really heartfelt good wishes to you, isadora. I’ve watched friends go through this & it’s bloody tough. It can be done, though, so really good luck.

      Make sure sure you look after yourself in the process as it’s draining coping with an addict (speaking as someone with a completely addictive nature who’s now pretty much vice-free).

  9. krat says:

    Every single story about him makes me love him more. As a public figure, obviously people find him terrifyingly honest and all too often focus only on the salacious details of his life. He has a lot to say, and he’s working on opening a public dialogue, which is more than I can say for the average politician, let alone celebrities!

  10. Beth says:

    I really like him.

    • Pip says:

      I don’t get the physical appeal at all – not remotely my type – but god he’s a smart guy. Really intelligent, informed, thoughtful, articulate – good writer too. Nice to see that people are starting to notice that side of him too.

  11. MistyNinja says:

    After i watched him school the msnbc anchors, I binged watched Brand x.

    Now, I am so fuking in love with him. And it should bother me he has probably bonked thousands of women. It just does not interfere with me thinking he is super sexy.

  12. littlestar says:

    Love him love him love him!

  13. Pinky says:

    He’s got a Charles Manson thing going on in his eyes at times. That I don’t like. . . .

  14. Audrey says:

    I hate how attracted I am to him ๐Ÿ™

  15. Chutzpah says:

    I don’t fancy him physically atall.

    But I really want to go to bed with this mans brain lol

  16. MAC says:

    I hope he just goes away. I do not understand his appeal at all. There are levels of addiction. Call it progression if you will. He is correct many dealing w a drugs problem do not care about the law. We could never treat every drug addict the same, some commit crimes that are not with just getting the drugs themselves. Some do more- harm people physically for money, break into peoples homes for money. Compassion is fine, he has over simplified addiction.

  17. claire says:

    On one of the older Russell posts, someone mentioned The Big Fat Quiz of The Year. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!, to whomever that was. Goth Detectives for the win! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ella says:

      It wasn’t me that mentioned it, but I agree he’s great on it! He’s been on it 3 times, twice with Noel Fielding as the Goth Detectives (2006 and 2007) and once where he was paired with Jonathan Ross (2009). All of them are great!

      Also, have some of you watched his BBC documentary from 2007 where he drove across the US with his best mate in homage to Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”? It was really good — funny and informative and interesting. I love documentary shows hosted by smart comedians — it’s the best combination.

  18. Ella says:

    I will always support Rusty and am so glad this site features him in a positive way. He is a refreshing change from so many of the bland Hollywood celebs out there. Sorry to the person who wants him to “just go away” – because I think he’s only going to get more prominent and more accepted from here on, as he continues to prove his intelligence and eloquence. Being asked to take part in Question Time is a huge deal – not many comedians have been included on that panel over the years; it’s mostly serious politicians. People are waking up and realizing that Russell Brand has a lot of smart things to say.

    And I love that he goes on these serious panel shows without compromising his personal style. Chest hair and all. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • bluhare says:

      And he was a brilliant choice for singing Here Comes the Walrus at the opening Olympics ceremony. Almost my favourite moment.

  19. Emily C. says:

    I love reading about Russell Brand because it proves being a celebrity does not necessarily mean being stupid. It didn’t used to mean being stupid. I don’t know how almost all our Hollywood actors and pop stars have become stupid, and I think celebrating the ones who are intelligent (like Brand and Pink) might mean we start expecting that. And then maybe the stupidity level will go down overall.

  20. Cricket says:

    I will always have a soft spot for Rusty and his open book, non-apologetic, it is what it is so discuss it attitude. It’s refreshing to see someone own their issues so to speak.

    My dad was deeply struggling with an alcohol problem, self-medicating to deal with depression and bereavement. It was a really difficult time for all of us and I couldn’t get thru to my dad.

    Well, I bought him Booky Wook one and two. He read them both. I can’t say for sure if what was written got through to him but he has stopped drinking and has been sober since January! I’m so proud and happy beyond words ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ella says:

      Wow! I think you should tweet Russell and tell him that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Even though you don’t know for sure if the booky wooks were responsible for your dad’s decision to get sober, it seems like there must be some connection. That makes me happy to hear Russell had a good influence. Good for your dad!

      • Cricket says:

        Thanks Ella! I actually just chatted with my dad today about Rusty and his run in with Mika. I asked if he wanted to go along with my husband and I to see him perform in Atlantic City. Kind of jokingly but he said he would go!

        My dad is 74 yrs old! I think reading about Russell as a child and the close bond he has with his mom really connected.

      • Ella says:

        Excellent – your dad sounds super cool. My mom is 69 and she also likes Russell and some of the other British comedians that I like. Yay for cool parents. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope your dad stays on his path to a better life.

  21. Isabel says:

    Love him, but everytime I see him I see Charles Manson. If there is a new biopic filming in the near future Rusty should play him.