Russell Brand has spoken at a United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs event in Vienna, advocating the Support, Don’t Punish campaign.

“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,” he said. “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.”

“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.”

Support, Don’t Punish is a global advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the harms that are being caused by the criminalisation of people who use drugs. Find out more here.

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