Russell Brand has called for a drastic overhaul of drugs policy in the U.K., urging politicians to decriminalise illicit substances and help addicts become useful members of society.
The former alcoholic and heroin addict was invited to share his experiences at a House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee hearing into Britain's drug policies taking place in London on Tuesday (24Apr12).
He told the hearing his drug demons had forced him to become a criminal in order to fund his habit, and insisted the scourge of addiction can only be tackled if sufferers are treated with "compassion".
Brand told the committee, "I became a drug addict, I think, because of emotional difficulties, psychological difficulties, and perhaps a spiritual malady.
"For me, taking drugs and excessive drinking were the result ofa psychological, spiritual or mental condition.
"I was sad, lonely, unhappy, detached, and drugs and alcohol, to me, seemed like a solution to that problem...
"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... Criminality is a necessary component.
"Now, of course we are not saying forget the victims but I'm saying it's better to address the social situation pragmatically and I think we allknow this...
"We need to change the laws in this country and have a more compassionate, altruistic, loving attitude to the people with the diseaseof addiction".