Russell Brand wrote an impassioned essay about the death of Oscar winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a heroin overdose. Brand, a former heroin addict who has been clean and sober since 2003, talks about how addiction spares no one. He says that if Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus overdosed, the media would go with a story that implied they deserved to die because of their partying, hedonistic ways. But Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn't fit the narrative, because he didn't party, he was respected in his profession and died alone.
Brand says that stupid drug laws caused his death. He says just because drugs are illegal doesn't mean we should treat drug addicts as criminals, noting "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."
Brand believes that addicts need treatment, not jail sentences and that we should change our policies to help addicts get clean. He says being a heroin addict is so stigmatizing that people don't go for help. He asks, "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?"
You can read the entire essay here