Russell Brand is the latest celebrity to remark on Philip Seymour Hoffman's untimely death.
In an over-800 word essay published by The Guardian, Brand declares that while Hoffman's death is tragic, it was also "inevitable," due to our current drug laws.
Brand is a recovering heroin addict and alcoholic, who has reportedly been sober since 2003. He acknowledges the shock people have expressed that such a successful and esteemed individual as Philip Seymour Hoffman could have fallen prey to drugs and notes that anyone, regardless of age, status or influence can succumb to addiction.
As such, Brand is committed to removing the stigma that surrounds addiction and paints it as a character flaw, rather than a treatable illness. He remarks that our current drug laws paint addicts as criminals, when what they need is compassion.
"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," he writes.
Brand has long been critical of our drug laws, which he says are "gallingly ineffective." He writes that these policies remain unchanged because the majority of individuals who are affected by addiction are poor and "politically irrelevant."
Brand finishes off his essay with a call to arms for us to change the way we view and treat addicts.
"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."
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