Russell Brand's eye opening documentary, From Addiction to Recovery, revealed the comedian's beliefs about drugs and the treatment of drug addicts in the UK, something that he is very familiar with after suffering from addiction himself.
“Two years ago, I couldn't get enough of them. I took drugs every single day... I was sad, lonely, unhappy, detached. Drugs and alcohol seemed like a solution.” Brand revealed. “I got clean at the age of 27, the age that Amy Winehouse died.”
Russell explained that he feels like he could have done something to help Amy, who died suddenly last year following a public battle with drugs and alcohol. During the BBC Three documentary, Russell spoke to Amy's dad, Mitch Winehouse, who said: “Wrongly, she didn't feel that rehab was for her,” to which Russell replied, “She made that f***in clear, didn't she.”
“Having an addiction is an illness,” Mitch told Russell. “It needs to be treated just like any other illness.”
Russell believes that addiction should be regarded as a condition rather than a crime, and that addicts should have wider access to rehabilitation programmes, rather than being prescribed a legal drug substitute such as Methadone. “I believe in people, and I believe in the people of change. Methadone doesn't give them access to the help they require,” he argued.
Russell himself was forced into rehab by his manager John Noel, who convinced Russell to get help by telling him: “In six months time, you're gonna be dead, arrested, or in a lunatic asylum.”
On December 13 2002, Russell began his 12 week rehabilitation at Focus 12, where he managed to stay off drugs by taking things one day at a time, he revealed. “When you're a drug addict, the idea of not taking drugs is inconceivable,” but “within you, you wanted to get better.”
During the documentary, Russell visited two women who have been using drugs for the majority of their lives. When one of the women, Karen, asked Russell if he knows that he won't go back to drugs, he revealed: “No, I don't know that actually.”
Russell said that visiting the women reminded him “how lucky I am that I don't have to live my life defined by acquiring and using drugs.”
“It's heartbreaking as a mum when you've brought an innocent, beautiful little child into the world, to see that happen to them,” Russell's mum told him tearfully.
Russell was invited to parliament as part as a government investigation into the way drug addicts are addressed in Britain, where he fought for his argument that drug addiction is a disease, and that the best way to treat it is abstinence and access to help, which he will continue to fight for in order to make Amy's death feel “less pointless.”
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