Testifying today before a parliamentary committee reviewing UK drug policy, Russell Brand expressed vehement support for the treatment of drug addiction as a disease rather than a criminal activity.
"By regarding addiction as an illness, by offering treatment instead of a more punitive approach, we can prevent people from committing crimes," the comedian told members of the Commons home affairs select committee.
A recovering heroin addict himself, Brand is no stranger to drug-related arrests, having been busted for possession "roughly twelve times." Brand suggested the money wasted on "nicking people for possession" would be better spent on treatment and education programs.
When asked if he saw himself as a role model for today's youth, Brand turned to a (paraphrased) quote from "the great" Tupac Shakur: "Role is something people play, model is something that people make, both of those things are fake."
He continued: "What I want to offer people is truth and authenticity. In the treatment of this illness, in our regard to the criminal components of it, in assisting victims, and in the way we legislate and organize our society."
The actor stopped short of calling for legalization, saying he wasn't qualified to speak on the matter, and, besides, "I don't think [drug addicts] are going to be affected [by legalization] because they're normally on drugs."
[video via Sky News]