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Drug Prohibition Not Working, Brand Testifies

He speaks to British lawmakers about addiction
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2012 2:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – Drug addiction should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one, Russell Brand told lawmakers in Britain yesterday. The flamboyant actor, wearing a torn vest top, testified before a parliamentary committee, saying he had beaten his own addiction to heroin but had been arrested around a dozen times for possession, the Guardian reports. "Penalizing people for possession of drugs is costly and expensive," he said. "Making it illegal is not working anyway."

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"I’m not a legal expert. I’m saying that, to a drug addict, the legal aspect is irrelevant," Brand told lawmakers. "If you need to get drugs, you will. The criminal and legal status, I think, sends the wrong message. Being arrested isn’t a lesson, it’s just an administrative blip." He said that while he isn't calling for a drug "free-for-all," he believes some people can take drugs safely and those with the "condition of addiction" should be treated "compassionately and pragmatically." When one lawmaker suggested he could become a role model for young people, Brand responded: "Who cares about bloody celebrities? Their role is insignificant." (Read more Russell Brand stories.)

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