A Branded argument

Ten years have passed since Russell Brand suffered with drug addiction. Last night, the nation got to see the perspective he has gained from ten years of sobriety in documentary 'From Addiction to Recovery'.

The main objective of the program was to highlight how many drug addicts slide back into addiction (and, in many cases, crime) after unsuccessful treatment, which often includes the prescription of the methadone. Russell advocated abstinence-based recovery, as opposed to prescribing addicts methadone, which is a legal substitute for heroin. He says that this is just another drug for addicts to depend on. Brand argues that abstinence-based recovery is economically beneficial and more successful in reducing recidivism rates. He also argues that drug addiction needs to be seen as a health problem not a criminal and judiciary one. 

Throughout the documentary, Brand consistently demonstrates his confusing switch between an eloquent man and an irreverent comedian. Although he did sort of seek to get two sides to his methadone-versus-abstinence debate, the footage of him talking to a GP about it made for uncomfortable viewing as he continuously talked over her and belittled her arguments.

The documentary was almost entirely advocating his opinion on drug rehabilitation, yet evidence to support this was very thin. His fervent argument failed to acknowledge that everyone is different, and some will respond better to certain types of treatment than others. 

The documentary also looked at Brand's personal struggle with drugs in the past, and at one point shows him
watching footage of himself when he was battling his addiction, smoking heroin. Whilst watching it, Brand says: "I'm jealous of me then", which doesn't exactly say 'brilliant campaigner'.

Although the documentary covered important issues, the argument was lacking substance, proof and expert opinion.  Here lies the paradox of using Russell Brand - more people will watch, but his opinion overshadows the importance of the issue. Arguing his own experience for a change in the Government's approach to the treatment of drug addiction is absurd. Perhaps Brand is funnier than I initially thought. 

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