Russell Brand: Philip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws

In Hoffman's domestic or sex life there is no undiscovered riddle – the man was a drug addict and, thanks to our drug laws, his death inevitable

Philip Seymour Hoffman's death was not on the bill.

If it'd been the sacrifice of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber, that we are invited to anticipate daily, we could delight in the Faustian justice of the righteous dispatch of a fast-living, sequin-spattered denizen of eMpTyV. We are tacitly instructed to await their demise with necrophilic sanctimony. When the end comes, they screech on Fox and TMZ, it will be deserved. The Mail provokes indignation, luridly baiting us with the sidebar that scrolls from the headline down to hell.

But Philip Seymour Hoffman? A middle-aged man, a credible and decorated actor, the industrious and unglamorous artisan of Broadway and serious cinema? The disease of addiction recognises none of these distinctions. Whilst routinely described as tragic, Hoffman's death is insufficiently sad to be left un-supplemented in the mandatory posthumous scramble for salacious garnish; we will now be subjected to mourn-ography posing as analysis. I can assure you that there is no as yet undiscovered riddle in his domestic life or sex life, the man was a drug addict and his death inevitable.

A troubling component of this sad loss is the complete absence of hedonism. Like a lot of drug addicts, probably most, who "go over", Hoffman was alone when he died. This is an inescapably bleak circumstance. When we reflect on Bieber's Louis Vuitton embossed, Lamborghini cortege it is easy to equate addiction with indulgence and immorality. The great actor dying alone denies us this required narrative prang.

The reason I am so non-judgmental of Hoffman or Bieber and so condemnatory of the pop cultural tinsel that adorns the reporting around them is that I am a drug addict in recovery, so like any drug addict I know exactly how Hoffman felt when he "went back out". In spite of his life seeming superficially great, in spite of all the praise and accolades, in spite of all the loving friends and family, there is a predominant voice in the mind of an addict that supersedes all reason and that voice wants you dead. This voice is the unrelenting echo of an unfulfillable void.

Addiction is a mental illness around which there is a great deal of confusion, which is hugely exacerbated by the laws that criminalise drug addicts.

If drugs are illegal people who use drugs are criminals. We have set our moral compass on this erroneous premise, and we have strayed so far off course that the landscape we now inhabit provides us with no solutions and greatly increases the problem.

This is an important moment in history; we know that prohibition does not work. We know that the people who devise drug laws are out of touch and have no idea how to reach a solution. Do they even have the inclination? The fact is their methods are so gallingly ineffective that it is difficult not to deduce that they are deliberately creating the worst imaginable circumstances to maximise the harm caused by substance misuse.

People are going to use drugs; no self-respecting drug addict is even remotely deterred by prohibition. What prohibition achieves is an unregulated, criminal-controlled, sprawling, global mob-economy, where drug users, their families and society at large are all exposed to the worst conceivable version of this regrettably unavoidable problem.

Countries like Portugal and Switzerland that have introduced progressive and tolerant drug laws have seen crime plummet and drug-related deaths significantly reduced. We know this. We know this system doesn't work – and yet we prop it up with ignorance and indifference. Why? Wisdom is acting on knowledge. Now we are aware that our drug laws aren't working and that alternatives are yielding positive results, why are we not acting? Tradition? Prejudice? Extreme stupidity? The answer is all three. Change is hard, apathy is easy, tradition is the narcotic of our rulers. The people who are most severely affected by drug prohibition are dispensable, politically irrelevant people. Poor people. Addiction affects all of us but the poorest pay the biggest price.

Philip Seymour Hoffman's death is a reminder, though, that addiction is indiscriminate. That it is sad, irrational and hard to understand. What it also clearly demonstrates is that we are a culture that does not know how to treat its addicts. Would Hoffman have died if this disease were not so enmeshed in stigma? If we weren't invited to believe that people who suffer from addiction deserve to suffer? Would he have OD'd if drugs were regulated, controlled and professionally administered? Most importantly, if we insisted as a society that what is required for people who suffer from this condition is an environment of support, tolerance and understanding.

The troubling message behind Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, which we all feel without articulating, is that it was unnecessary and we know that something could be done. We also know what that something is and yet, for some traditional, prejudicial, stupid reason we don't do it.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/06/russell-brand-philip-...

Comments

SimonTemplar's picture

Someday I fantasize challenging the bigamy laws as being CHRISTIAN not freedom of eligion as supposedly USA has Drug laws fail everyone but again it's big morny for lawyers judges,prison guards,police } FBI/DEA/HOMELAND INSECURITY{ and countless others. in 60's Khun {means respected}Saah offered to sell the US GOVT all the opium grown in the Golden Triangle for less than law enforcement wqas spending to stop drugs being sold was too simple an answer so NO WE DON'T WANT YOUR DEAL Still is question/when guards in prisons can work overtime and retire in 20 years+ one day with full pay/full salary/why should anyone in law enforcement want drugs legalized and controlled by the govt? When Hoffman died it was not " inevitable as he claims but note-he was alone when he OD'd/Why alone when so many "friends" and family were there for him/to help him what pushed him to choose death.Belief that his body was preventing him fom finding PEACE?? VERY IMPRESSIVE WORK.I always assumed he was another idiot incapable of genuine communication on professorial level.What he questions is entire Christian morality of today's society.Fails to deal with reality. Simply adds to the problems w/o seeing them from any point near reality. do not agree with understanding how/why Hoffman died but points us in direction of societal changes necessary for treatment of overuse of dugs/alcohol. I would ahve added why we spend $billions for worthless WARS when needy are left to die w/o food,clothing, shelter or even clean drinking water. 30% of today weapons systems are OBSOLETE yet Military continues to buy buy buy moer and more OBSOLETE WEAPONRY. GREED ARROGANCE /FEAR/HATRED/LIES/ATTACHMENT TO BEING BIGGEST BADEST TOUGHEST/YET IGNORING BASIC NEEDS OF SOCIETY??? Lighthouse in mtns/no sleep last night just some time w/God.

I SPY

this paragraph. "The reason I am so non-judgmental of Hoffman or Bieber and so condemnatory of the pop cultural tinsel that adorns the reporting around them is that I am a drug addict in recovery, so like any drug addict I know exactly how Hoffman felt when he "went back out". In spite of his life seeming superficially great, in spite of all the praise and accolades, in spite of all the loving friends and family, there is a predominant voice in the mind of an addict that supersedes all reason and that voice wants you dead. This voice is the unrelenting echo of an unfulfillable void." Speak for yourself Russell Brand. I am an ex drug addicted person myself and I don't have some underlying thinking that wants me dead going on anymore. Not since I left the cult and changed the way I look at being addicted to something. You just keep that obsession going for yourself all you want, leave me out of it. I don't believe in the Devil that way! So Christian to think there is a disease in waiting to invade your very thoughts without the precious program, the savior. I don't like it when ex addicted people act like they know every truth for everyone. I believe they haven't even researched their own. Anyhow, all the rest of the article I really like.

I liked very much what you wrote - Russell Brand's tripe -not so much. Simon still playing your harp ?- hope so. : ) peace Matt
Rolf Ankermann's picture

is an idiot and should be taken seriously why? I hate that "celebrities" are taken more seriously than anybody else just because. Pop culture is so pathetic, honestly who gives a.....?

"I don't like it when ex addicted people act like they know every truth for everyone. I believe they haven't even researched their own." DING DING DING. FFS, they're not even allowed to discuss outside literature at their secret meetings! But THEY'RE the ones who know it all?
criticoolthinking's picture

so any intelligence oozing out his public persona isn't necessary original to brand himself, regurgitated mostly me thinks. so what did he they say? drug laws are stupid and should be changed. plus a huge glob of superfluous crap that makes dumpster girls giggle cause their brains lock up after 25 syllables wow ! he's a long winded silver tongued head musher.

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i embrace a multi-pathic view of disease and behavior science. neither is the only way for everyone, people are unique, some get diseases, some don't. some needs are beyond will power. some are not. group think kills individuals! critty cat.

criticoolthinking's picture

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i embrace a multi-pathic view of disease and behavior science. neither is the only way for everyone, people are unique, some get diseases, some don't. some needs are beyond will power. some are not. group think kills individuals! critty cat.

btnben's picture

The guy is out of his head on adjectives to the point of overdose. I haven't seen such a bad case since a 5th form writing competition when I was at school.

God damn it, get me a whiskey

Bill W, Deathbed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?source=patrick.net&v=Sdn3O6aaMNc

SimonTemplar's picture

Played for 1/2 hour then was easy to sleep. I enjoy your willingness to express love for the lord ehre there's bitches whining about who am I to talk about how I love the Lord and how I love this experience of LIGHT/LOVE/ INNER MUSIC/ ENERGY ----WHO AM I NOT TO? Every day I spend over 1 hour inside with my own SOUL this love and liek battery being charged I get filled up then my life's interconnected with everyone and w/everything. Great and greatful Orange ahs set limits so more comfortable posting/hope this forum will help others and return to being a fun place.Happiness answers most questions. Tempest in a teapot{good movie} Years ago Boston was one jackass telling me how i should do the "decent thing" and commit suicide later learned he was gay gay gay and knew I was not but he thought/ wWell,he's one of those baby killing Vet vets and I want to keep secret that i'm gay so i'll have everyone look at him. Now same shiite.OMG he's this and gossip this gossip that I love my teacher Prem Rawat I love this experience Prem opened the door to INNER LIGHT/MUSIC/ENERGY/WATER/ HEAVEN NOW If they don't like me saying this fck them. Mountains--ridgeline/peaks are about 1 kilometer from my house and many days pollution is so horrible, I can't see them Can't blame god/man is doing this to self. Lord gave human beings clear blue skies and now has been destroyed by IGNORANCE GREED-not by God. Ignorance and greed /yet COUNTLESS fighting for power/control many dead in bangkok /hundreds hospitalized no changes will happen just greedy bastids trade places with other group that actually helped millions o people but got really drunk on power,then stupid. seems that AA and Anti-AA both want God to take the blame for their actions and for how seriously f'd up this world is but Prem said simply what choices there are "either learn to live together or create HELL ON EARTH!" YO'S JUST HAD EHR 11TH OR 12TH ACCIDENT so again pay for ehr mistakes.damn all this effort and I may never get that soft thigh/might be impossible. We'll see what happens when she meets Prem in Malysia next month/2 days for ehr to listen and feel.his energy/love. Lighthouse in mtns/grey mtns/gets lonely ehre.

I SPY

live_free_or_die's picture

I think Mr. Brand probably has some valuable assets to go after unlike some that just have a pair of sneakers.
LFOD's Blog http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/blog/10857 ©2014 AA:MyNotGodHasItCovered® http://www.expaa.org/ http://noforcedaa.weebly.com/ http://12stepprograms.weebly.com/ NOT AA: Rational Recovery, SOS, HAMS
live_free_or_die's picture

Yeah, I agree with the questioning of society's views on drug use and the need for changes in criminalizing folks that misuse drugs. However, this guy Brand has bought in to the 12 step model of helping the misusers and the 12 steps are all about finding God (the TRUE Christian God). Brand is perpetuating the fraud & con that Bill W. started in 1939. I would be interested in finding out more about Portugal and Switzerland and their approaches to drug use.
LFOD's Blog http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/blog/10857 ©2014 AA:MyNotGodHasItCovered® http://www.expaa.org/ http://noforcedaa.weebly.com/ http://12stepprograms.weebly.com/ NOT AA: Rational Recovery, SOS, HAMS
live_free_or_die's picture

Brand said:
Countries like Portugal and Switzerland that have introduced progressive and tolerant drug laws have seen crime plummet and drug-related deaths significantly reduced.
I can see the correlation in the drop in crime but I don't see the connection with a drop in drug-related deaths. Doesn't saying a drop in drug-related deaths fly in the face of XA dogma. XA dogma teaches that the TRUE addict, without the 12 steps, will die!
LFOD's Blog http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/blog/10857 ©2014 AA:MyNotGodHasItCovered® http://www.expaa.org/ http://noforcedaa.weebly.com/ http://12stepprograms.weebly.com/ NOT AA: Rational Recovery, SOS, HAMS
Pennywise's picture

Brand says some good things in this piece, some I agree with, some I don't. Basically, he hypothesizes that illegality and associated stigma of drugs contributed to PSH's death. Maybe. Or, maybe, Steppism, and not the law, lead PSH to become so ashamed of using again that he could just not reach out for support out of fear of how the cult members would judge him.
"One turned up the other day calling himself Boniface." ~ Bill Wilson

Russell Brand is an arch-stepper. Like many steppers he is right when he argues for rehabilitation not criminalization for drug addicts, but his idea of ‘rehabilitation’ is getting people into 12 step programs. He is massively opposed to things like methadone maintenance programs (because that means people are not ‘sober’) even though these have led to many people stabilizing and possibly saving their own lives. His ‘documentary’ on the BBC a few years ago was a disgrace. He shamelessly exploited the death of his ‘friend’ Amy Winehouse, not mentioning that she had been to 12-step rehab more than once before her death, and bullied and constantly interrupted a GP who was treating some of her drug-addicted patients with a methadone program, saying that as she wasn’t an addict herself she had no right to an opinion. The worst thing was that in the course of the documentary he persuaded a heroin addict to go to the 12 step rehab that ‘cured’ him. It wasn’t until the credits came up at the end that it was announced that the young woman he had persuaded to go to the rehab left after three weeks – no more information was given about her, about why she left, why this treatment failed, or about how she was doing. Unfortunately, decent-minded members of the public, including some politicians, who also believe in rehabilitation and treatment, rarely understand what Brand’s very dodgy agenda is. He says he is unable to talk openly about 12 step groups because of their rule of ‘anonymity’. He is a snake in the grass. (Can't stand his ludicrous over-use of pretentious long words either, but that's a minor consideration!)

That's all I have to say. Thanks for bringing me up on stuff. Liked the guy somewhat when he was using I think? He was a fan of Morressey who I love and it takes special kinds to love Morressey I find! LOL So life goes on...
SimonTemplar's picture

Giving some thought.His professional writers did this fine piece o work.it's so unlike Brand's usual verbiage that it's got to have been spun/ ghost written. Portugal,one country I've neer seen and want to visit Stats will take time but oberall when drug law liveralize changes alwysare positive.Less money for law more for treatment. so there should be positive correlation of stats. We'll have to wiat and see.too soon for info We're seeing how legalization in US will create taxes and stops low quality from being sold. Lighthouse in mtns/still shining.

I SPY

criticoolthinking's picture

google Portugal and Switzerland are known successes in decriminalized drug policy/

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i embrace a multi-pathic view of disease and behavior science. neither is the only way for everyone, people are unique, some get diseases, some don't. some needs are beyond will power. some are not. group think kills individuals! critty cat.

live_free_or_die's picture

on pot sales. The report was on the Fox news channel JR.
LFOD's Blog http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/blog/10857 ©2014 AA:MyNotGodHasItCovered® http://www.expaa.org/ http://noforcedaa.weebly.com/ http://12stepprograms.weebly.com/ NOT AA: Rational Recovery, SOS, HAMS