Addiction should be treated as a health problem rather than a criminal matter, comedian Russell Brand has told a committee of MPs.
The 36-year-old former heroin addict described addiction as an “illness” and said that those suffering from it should be treated with “compassion”.
He advocated an “abstinence-based recovery” approach, telling MPs this was how he overcame his addiction to drugs, which he said was caused by emotional, psychological and spiritual difficulties.
He said he thought the money spent on arresting drug addicts would be better spent on treating them, as he gave evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on 24 April 2012, as part of its inquiry into drugs policy.
Brand may well be right that addicts should receive treatment rather than be arrested and locked up. But that doesn’t address the real problem.
Drugs is big business and all the while it is lucrative to the criminal elements then there will be people willing to supply to the weak-willed who are willing to buy.
We still need a solution to the source and supply of drugs in this country. Only then will the cost of addiction be reduced. Whether it be by reducing the number of addicts arrested for the crimes they commit trying to fund their habit or by reducing the number of addicts that end up in our hospitals as a result of bad drugs, overdoses or drug related illnesses.