Russell Brand delivers plea to the UN: Drugs ban leads to 'death, suffering and crime'

The British comedian rubbished claims that UN member states had adopted an international consensus on tackling drug abuse

Russell Brand delivered a typically flamboyant plea to the United Nations to bring an end to the arrest and punishment of drug users, telling it that a ban will only lead to “death, suffering and crime” (scroll down to see the video).

The British comedian, who himself is a reformed drug addict, spoke to a press conference at the 57th Session Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna on behalf of the Support, Don't Punish campaign against criminalising drug use.

Brand Accused Of Homophobic Slur

"There is no reason to pursue this experiment of prohibition which has lasted a century," he told the audience.

"My personal experience is, I was using drugs because I was in a great deal of spiritual, emotional and physical pain and what I needed was a solution to those problems and what was provided to me to reach that solution was a context of compassion and tolerance.

"What bigger context is there than the planet as a whole? If we can create a planetary context where drug addicts are treated as people with a health issue - not a judicial, criminal issue - that would create the perfect context for us to advance."

 

He went on: "Nobody at all is helped by drugs being made illegal, unless of course there is a conspiracy to marginalise, condemn and persecute disenfranchised members of our global community.

"I'd hate to think that was the situation - that certain countries didn't matter, that certain classes didn't matter, that certain races didn't matter.

"So unless that's the situation, there's literally no reason to proceed with this experiment of prohibition which has lasted for a century, that has done nothing but bring death, suffering, crime, created a negative economy, and deaths all over Mexico, deaths all over Malaysia, unnecessary death penalties.

"You'll notice I've said the word 'death' a lot.

"What I think we need to look at is an alternative way of thinking, an alternative approach of consciousness."

The head of the International Narcotics Control Board, the part of the UN that enforces international drug treaties, recently warned that moves to legalise cannabis would present a ''grave danger to public health and well-being''.

The body labelled moves to legalise marijuana in Uruguay and the US states of Colorado and Washington as ''misguided initiatives''.

But Brand rubbished claims that UN member states had adopted an international consensus on tackling drug abuse at all.

"I spoke to people this morning that have told me there isn't a real global consensus around drugs," he said.

"For example, in Uruguay cannabis has been made legal, whereas in Singapore you can get the death penalty for using cannabis."

Casually dressed in a scoop-necked T-shirt with flowing locks, the flamboyant personality was then shown around UN negotiating rooms. He also met with government representatives and campaigners.

Brand recently touted a government petition on Avaaz, calling for an independent review of UK drug laws. So far, the petition has attracted upwards of 100,000 signatures.

He also launched pilots for his recovery community initiative across the UK, which aims to provide recovering addicts with the social and welfare support they need to improve their quality of life in the long term.

Read More: Brand Launches Fund For Recovery Communities
Brand Slams David Cameron - 'Dirty, Filthy, Posh W**ker'
Brand's Autobiography Banned From Guantanamo Bay
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?