Our Stupid Drug Laws Killed Philip Seymour Hoffman
Russell Brand: We know they don't work, yet we make addicts suffer
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2014 5:17 PM CST
Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait on Jan. 19, 2014.   (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)

(Newser) Philip Seymour Hoffman may have been an acclaimed actor, but he died alone, as so many addicts do, writes Russell Brand in the Guardian. It shouldn't be this way, for Hoffman or anyone else. He is yet another victim of drug laws that only worsen the problem they're supposed to fix, argues Brand, a recovering addict himself. Because drugs are illegal, we must treat addicts as criminals, and most don't get the help they need. We know our laws don't work, and we know that places such as Switzerland and Portugal with more tolerant laws have fewer problems, and yet we do nothing to change our system, he writes. Chalk it up to "tradition," "prejudice," and "extreme stupidity."

Brand rattles off a list of questions: "Would Hoffman be alive if this disease were not so enmeshed in stigma? If we weren't invited to believe that people who suffer from addiction deserve to suffer? Would he have OD'd if drugs were regulated, controlled and professionally administered? Most importantly, if we insisted as a society that what is required for people who suffer from this condition is an environment of support, tolerance and understanding." To Brand, the answers are obvious. Click for his full column.

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Showing 3 of 124 comments
orlandojon
Feb 11, 2014 4:24 PM CST
Take some ownership, drug laws weren't going to stop that needle from going in this junkies arm.
KronX7
Feb 11, 2014 12:27 PM CST
White liberals need to stop blaming society and bad laws for someone's reckless behavior.
Jhon_P
Feb 10, 2014 7:40 AM CST
"He is yet another victim of drug laws that only worsen the problem they're supposed to fix, argues Brand, a recovering addict himself" To some extent you are correct but he and as you admit are just a casualties of war, you were not supposed to be the be the victims of a war declared on black people in this country. When a government declared war on a certain segment of the populace of a country, there are going to be some unintended victims, he is one. It might seem like a long time ago but this is the consequence. Just Google cointelpro