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Calling for Honesty and Authenticity on Addiction

Russell Brand urges MPs to change drug laws to treat addiction as health issue not criminal.

Mr Brand has recently asked for “honesty and authenticity” at the Home Affairs Select Committee on addiction to which he was invited, something massively lacking around the subject of drugs and addiction from all quarters. Ask people their opinions on drugs and addicts and they are invariably staggeringly biased. They are biased by age, politics and culture. Interestingly they are biassed in both directions from absurd demonisation from some quarters to gross romanticisation from others. Ask someone in their 70’s and you will get a different opinion from someone in their 40’s let alone someone in their 20s. (They all had massively different cultural experiences with drugs and addiction.) Ask people from different cultures or locations (Eastbourne vs Brighton for example) and again, you will get a wide a set of different opinions and biases. This is why it’s such a political minefield. Where can the politicians offend the least group of people? When the last government tried turning to science for an unbiased view it found that truth to be too unpalatable to bear and Professor David Nutt was unceremoniously sacked for his “honesty and authenticity”.

For a large group of people addiction must be seen as a health issue and treated accordingly, and it is this group who are most at risk from the wild opinionated zealots from all camps. It is this group who Brand is trying to help and so am I since both of us are open about having being addicts ourselves. The problem is that our view doesn’t suit any of the extremists in this debate. This is why he is absolutely right on the mark to be asking for “honesty and authenticity”.

Robin Lefever

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