Russell Brand calls for reform of drug laws following Hoffman death
In this Jan. 19, 2014 photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at The Collective and Gibson Lounge Powered by CEG, during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. (AP / Victoria Will)
Published Friday, February 7, 2014 7:35AM EST
Russell Brand has called for a reform of drug laws following Philip Seymour Hoffman's death.
The Oscar-winning actor tragically died in his New York City apartment over the weekend after experiencing a relapse, and Brand - who himself has battled drug addiction and alcoholism in the past - believes he is a "victim" of laws that "criminalise drug addicts".
The 38-year-old comedian-turned-political activist believes addiction is a "mental illness" and should be treated as a medical condition in order to prevent tragedies such as Hoffman's death from a suspected heroin overdose
In an article written for The Guardian newspaper, he stated: "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.
"People are going to use drugs; no self-respecting drug addict is even remotely deterred by prohibition."
Brand believes the 'Capote' actor - who was allegedly found with a syringe of heroin in his arm at his West Village home in New York City - may not have succumbed to his addiction if there was more help on offer.
The 'Get Him to the Greek' star said: "Philip Seymour Hoffman's death is a reminder, though, that addiction is indiscriminate. That it is sad, irrational and hard to understand. 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?"