The British funnyman fought substance abuse and alcohol addiction for many years, but turned his back on drugs in 2002.
He looks back on his health battle in new show Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, and he admits the 2011 death of his friend Amy Winehouse prompted him to film the programme – but he also wanted to highlight how addicts can address their issues by abstaining from drugs rather than using treatments such as methadone.
Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight show on Friday (10Aug12), he says, “Perhaps that (Winehouse’s death) was a catalyst in my decision to make the documentary but primarily it was because I wanted more people to be aware of the possibility of abstinence-based recovery, which I believe to be the true solution to the problem and disease of alcoholism and addiction.
“It’s having a program and a method to deal with a life free from drugs.”
Brand has also called on officials in the U.K. to overhaul the laws on drug use in the country.
He adds, “I think what the government is doing wrong is directing too much (sic) funds towards methadone and harm reduction and not giving people the correct information about alcoholism and addiction. I think by focusing on criminalising people that use drugs, I think you’re criminalising an entire class, an entire culture, that actually if it was treated as a health issue would perhaps be able to progress away from addiction.
“I don’t think the criminalisation works… and as a recovering drug addict I know that when I was using, the legal status of the drugs that I used made no difference.”