For anyone who caught Russel Brands ‘Addiction/Recovery’ TV programme on BBC3 last night will in no doubt like the ‘comedian’ himself have their own idea’s and opinions on the pro’s and con’s of rehabilitation in the UK. But watching Brand tackle this prickly issue in his usual ‘jokey wokey’ way I just couldn’t help at times letting out a series of cringes, all on his behalf.
Though the programme was of the debating kind it seemed his mind was clearly made up from the start regarding recovery, his belief in the power of abstinence and the idea of effective after care for ex users with more focus on their reintroduction into society is all well (though he didn’t mention where the funding would come from). But like us all Brands opinions are made up from his own personal experiences and those opinions at times came across as quite blinkered, and if anything a bit naive by white washing over issues he either didn’t get or attempt to tackle. Housing, education and broken families are just some of the root causes which were skimmed over at best as most major drug use is normally a by-product, a reaction to the bigger issues. With Russell Brand not having experienced such issues himself he simply didn’t cover them efficiently or at all.
What I thought would be more an opened debate on drug rehabilitation actually started out as a 20min ‘my drug hell’. Nothing wrong with getting some back ground on Brands past drug habit but smoking a tenners worth of gear in, to me anyway, what seemed a rather nice flat was a fail if it was intended to show us how bad he had it. Straight away any one who’d of had it ‘bad’ with heroin would of dismissed him there and then for trying it on. We all know he had a drug problem but it wasn’t the Trainspotting scenario he tried making out it was or the same as some of the people he interviewed and talked too.
Though obviously Amy Winehouse was a good friend of his interviewing the late stars farther Mitch probably wasn’t the best move. Did we really need him to chip in on this debate as he’s wasn’t exactly effective in his own daughters drug problem and is not the type of chap you’d go to for advice on such an issue. Plus Russell Brands repeated comment that he felt he ‘should of done some thing’ was rich not to mention annoying.
Brand seemed to change his projection of his own views depending who he was talking to at that time, in prison he did a lot of nodding and agreeing while talking to inmates who you felt he was never going to challenge like he did with the girl he met who was nervy about starting a drug programme. Again Russ seemed to have the idea he was in the same predicament as the young lady he was talking too yet anyone could see they might of both had drug problems but they came from totally different places. What was quite funny was when he sat down and talked to a doctor who was pro methadone and who openly prescribe it. Though the issue around Methadone is a wide one Russell Brand dismissed her and some of her idea’s because she was never a ‘drug addict’, just a doctor (which is characteristic when ex/users talk to workers, doctors etc). Yet funnily enough Brand receives the same type of treatment himself when he mentions he used to have a ÃÂ£100 a day habit to which one heroin addict shot back “is that all”. For a second you can see it in his face that he might not be on that same level after all and his advice on egg-sucking isn’t being taking too seriously, though this doesn’t stop his preaching.
Though Brand’s attitude to methadone was quite apparent and even if you agree with him on its use- to call some body who’s on a methadone prescription a ‘junkie’ yet again showed his lack of understanding. Brand claims to of chosen abstinence but again what worked for him isn’t going to work for some one who has no ‘team’ around them to lock them in their swanky hotel while they go through the withdrawals. Labelling methadone users as ‘junkies’, coming from an ex user is not the way forward, maybe that’s my own point of view because methadone worked for me, but I still think he was pretty negative in using it.
Did you see it, what did you think?,…Was he on the money or was he out of his depth making such a programme