Russell Brand advises the British government on drug policy

Russell Brand is very open about his former addictions—big portions of his memoir “My Booky Wook” are dedicated to discussing the nitty-gritty details of his addiction to drugs and sex. A former heroin addict, Brand was arrested twelve times before getting sober.

Now Brand is using his life experience to advise the British government on their drug policy.

Contact Music reports that Brand held a meeting with British politicians today “intended to address the social issues that lead people into drug addiction in the UK.”

Unsurprisingly, Brand’s stance was to advocate for compassion and treatment rather than rehabilitation through the criminal justice system:

It’s more important that we regard people’s suffering from addiction with compassion, and that there is a pragmatic rather than symbolic approach to treating it. I was sad, lonely, unhappy, detached and drugs and alcohol for me seemed like a solution to that problem. If you have the illness or disease of addiction or alcoholism, the best way to tackle it is not use drugs in any form whether it’s state-sponsored opus like methadone or illegal street drugs. It wasn’t until I had access to abstinence-based recovery that I was able to change my behavior and significantly reduce, all but obliterate my criminal activity, apart from the occasional skirmish.

Last year the Global Commission on Drugs argued for worldwide drug decriminalization, saying the war on drugs has failed. Former president Jimmy Carter agreed. Brand is talking sense. Although if world governments won’t listen to the Global Drug Commission and former US presidents, they probably won’t listen to Brand either.