Drug Rehab Patron Russell Brand Criticised For Heroin Joke
A reformed heroin addict himself and patron of Focus 12 - Bury St Edmund’s drug rehab centre - the stand-up comic made the controversial joke during an interview with US music magazine Rolling Stone.
The Essex born 35 year old allegedly told the magazine that it would be good to introduce ‘teenyboppers’ to heroin as we would be spared their awful music.
According to reports he said: “The top of the hit parade would look very different if teenyboppers were exposed to heroin. It would weed a lot of them out.”
Despite the wave of criticism that followed his comments Chip Somers Focus 12’s chief executive defended the TV, film and radio star saying the joke had been taken out of all context.
He said: “I’ve read the so called revulsion at what Russell said but they are all missing something - it was a joke. He clearly is not advocating that young pop stars should take drugs to kill them off. He is absolutely committed to getting people off drugs and understands this better than anyone having been through rehab himself. He goes to great lengths when he comes across anyone on drugs to get them to Focus 12 and without his support we would not even be here doing the work we do. I hardly think that’s the action of someone who is seriously saying to pop stars they should take drugs.”
After Mr Brand’s remarks had been made public David Raynes, of the Drug Prevention Alliance, said it was time for people in public life to choose their words more carefully.
“It was quite ridiculous for him to say something like that. To trivialise drug abuse is unacceptable. Someone in his position can have a huge influence on youths and in a country that has the worst drug use in Europe he should have known better,” he added.
Since quitting drugs and taking part in a rehabilitation programme at Focus 12 Mr Brand has donated more than £100,000 to the Bury based charity.