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Russell Brand Points Fingers In Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death & How He Compares It To Miley Cyrus & Justin Bieber Is Intense!

| Filed under: DrugsLegal MattersR.I.P.Miley CyrusSad SadRussell BrandJustin BieberPhilip Seymour Hoffman

russell brand essay philip seymour hoffman death drug laws ineffective justin bieber miley cyrus

Russell Brand isn't the first celebrity to use Philip Seymour Hoffman's unexpected death as an opportunity to discuss bigger picture issues like the ineffective and decades long war on drugs.

His recent column in The Guardian was still earthshaking, however. Even for him.

Russell basically blames a flawed treatment system and misguided drug laws for his colleague's death. Furthermore, he argued that - unlike Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, a pair of celebrities who might be more deserving of a horrible demise (his theory, NOT ours) - Philip did nothing immoral.

He was an addict. That's it.

Because of that inarguable fact and because of our inhumane drug laws which make being an addict a crime, Russell thinks the 46-year-old actor was perhaps destined to die sad and alone.

He admitted:

“In spite of [Philip's] life seeming superficially great, in spite of all the praise and accolades, in spite of all the loving friends and family, there is a predominant voice in the mind of an addict that supersedes all reason and that voice wants you dead.”

He thinks that we, as a culture, did very little to help him deal with that voice.

Russell is outrageous by trade and famous, in part, for his inflammatory remarks, but he is also one of Hollywood's most prominent recovering drug addicts and it's hard not to take his words seriously.

You can read his full statement (below):

"Philip Seymour Hoffman's death was not on the bill.

If it'd been the sacrifice of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber, that we are invited to anticipate daily, we could delight in the Faustian justice of the righteous dispatch of a fast-living, sequin-spattered denizen of eMpTyV. We are tacitly instructed to await their demise with necrophilic sanctimony. When the end comes, they screech on Fox and TMZ, it will be deserved. The Mail provokes indignation, luridly baiting us with the sidebar that scrolls from the headline down to hell.

But Philip Seymour Hoffman? A middle-aged man, a credible and decorated actor, the industrious and unglamorous artisan of Broadway and serious cinema? The disease of addiction recognises none of these distinctions. Whilst routinely described as tragic, Hoffman's death is insufficiently sad to be left un-supplemented in the mandatory posthumous scramble for salacious garnish; we will now be subjected to mourn-ography posing as analysis. I can assure you that there is no as yet undiscovered riddle in his domestic life or sex life, the man was a drug addict and his death inevitable.

A troubling component of this sad loss is the complete absence of hedonism. Like a lot of drug addicts, probably most, who "go over", Hoffman was alone when he died. This is an inescapably bleak circumstance. When we reflect on Bieber's Louis Vuitton embossed, Lamborghini cortege it is easy to equate addiction with indulgence and immorality. The great actor dying alone denies us this required narrative prang.

The reason I am so non-judgmental of Hoffman or Bieber and so condemnatory of the pop cultural tinsel that adorns the reporting around them is that I am a drug addict in recovery, so like any drug addict I know exactly how Hoffman felt when he "went back out". In spite of his life seeming superficially great, in spite of all the praise and accolades, in spite of all the loving friends and family, there is a predominant voice in the mind of an addict that supersedes all reason and that voice wants you dead. This voice is the unrelenting echo of an unfulfillable void.

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.

This is an important moment in history; we know that prohibition does not work. We know that the people who devise drug laws are out of touch and have no idea how to reach a solution. Do they even have the inclination? The fact is their methods are so gallingly ineffective that it is difficult not to deduce that they are deliberately creating the worst imaginable circumstances to maximise the harm caused by substance misuse.

People are going to use drugs; no self-respecting drug addict is even remotely deterred by prohibition. What prohibition achieves is an unregulated, criminal-controlled, sprawling, global mob-economy, where drug users, their families and society at large are all exposed to the worst conceivable version of this regrettably unavoidable problem.

Countries like Portugal and Switzerland that have introduced progressive and tolerant drug laws have seen crime plummet and drug-related deaths significantly reduced. We know this. We know this system doesn't work – and yet we prop it up with ignorance and indifference. Why? Wisdom is acting on knowledge. Now we are aware that our drug laws aren't working and that alternatives are yielding positive results, why are we not acting? Tradition? Prejudice? Extreme stupidity? The answer is all three. Change is hard, apathy is easy, tradition is the narcotic of our rulers. The people who are most severely affected by drug prohibition are dispensable, politically irrelevant people. Poor people. Addiction affects all of us but the poorest pay the biggest price.

Philip Seymour Hoffman's death is a reminder, though, that addiction is indiscriminate. That it is sad, irrational and hard to understand. What it also clearly demonstrates is that we are a culture that does not know how to treat its addicts. 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? Most importantly, if we insisted as a society that what is required for people who suffer from this condition is an environment of support, tolerance and understanding.

The troubling message behind Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, which we all feel without articulating, is that it was unnecessary and we know that something could be done. We also know what that something is and yet, for some traditional, prejudicial, stupid reason we don't do it."

[Image via WENN.]

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31 comments to “Russell Brand Points Fingers In Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death & How He Compares It To Miley Cyrus & Justin Bieber Is Intense!”



  1. 1

    What kind of person disagrees with anything said in this letter?



  2. 2

    Russell Brand is disgusting, but he is SO VERY right here. It should've been Smelly Virus and Justin the Lesbian who OD-ed. Hope that really happens soon.

  3. ÑeñeAntigüedadWhate says – reply to this


    3

    Yes and no.
    I don't support legalization mostly because the very first time I smoked tobacco I was 9. You know that if you legalize and regulate drugs, there'll still be black market and kids willing to use.

  4. Roxanne says – reply to this


    4

    Damn… he is SO right…. he's an ODD DUDE for sure…. i don't like or dislike him. But his assessment of this is so right on.



  5. 5

    Russell Brand is an intelligent beautifully articulated person who has an excellent grasp on the human condition and he is 100% right. Prohibition doesn't work and there are terrible stigmas attached to drug addiction. what people often fail to realize is addiction comes in many forms, food, drinking, gambling, shopping, its not just drugs.
    Education and being honest and forthcoming with the correct information is the best way to stop kids getting into drugs. Parents have to take responsibility and learn about drugs and their effects so they can inform their kids on the facts as opposed to just telling them drugs are bad. The world must come together to find a proper solution because prohibition will never work and criminals in the drug trade will continue to profit whilst destroying families and the communities in every nation



  6. 6

    How the fuck did he marry a vapid twatwaffle like Katy Perry? He reeks of intelligence and thoughtfulness. Perhaps that was his weakness as well, to have married a woman who is now swapping STDs with John "the world's biggest douche" Mayer.

  7. K says – reply to this


    7

    "a pair of celebrities who might be more deserving of a horrible demise (his theory, NOT ours) - Philip did nothing immoral. He was an addict. That's it."
    That is NOT what he meant. Perez, sharpen up on your reading comprehension. He was saying that the media and pop culture consumerists would think Ms. Cyrus and Mr. Beiber would be more deserving of this type of demise. People who bask in their attention and bad boy/girl behaviors. He's setting this up to contrast a person like Hoffman, who died alone. "Our" view is that he is an accomplished artist, someone to admire and that is what makes it devastating, and that if it had happened to Cyrus or Beiber we wouldn't be naming them with the same titles.. However, Brand points out he "…wouldn't be judgmental of Hoffman or Beiber…". The point of comparing Hoffman and these young pop stars is that addiction doesn't care who you are.

    I hate this site, I shouldn't even bother.



  8. 8

    he is very ugly.. but a very intelligent guy.



  9. 9

    If this letter gets circulated and enacts change then PSH's death won't be in vain.



  10. 10

    Re: K – i was very disappointed with perez at first. when i read the heading, like you, i was mislead. however, would i have taken the time to read mr. brand's words if the article were titled differently? prob not. possibly perez hilton knew what he was doing when he titled it.

  11. thecat61 says – reply to this


    11

    Re: divinah – You're the one who's disgusting. Wishing death upon someone. You know what they say about KARMA — IT'S A BITCH!

  12. ... says – reply to this


    12

    Are you serious? The main reason why hard drug are still illegal, is because people on drug are lazy, unproductive!
    Unproductive people? Our gouvernements do not want this! the Industrials do not want this! Progress can't use the way of lazyness, otherwise, it will take and eternity to acheive significative technologic and medical advances, if this is possible with some crackhead for lead us as society?
    Hard drug aren't illegal for no reason, in the political agenda of many leaders.. $$$

  13. ... says – reply to this


    13

    Are you serious? The main reason why hard drug are still illegal, is because people on drug are lazy, unproductive!
    Unproductive people? Our gouvernements do not want this! the Industrials do not want this! Progress can't use the way of lazyness, otherwise, it will take an eternity to acheive significative advances technologic and medical . If this is possible with some crackhead for lead us as society?
    Hard drug aren't illegal for no reason, in the political agenda of many leaders.. $$$



  14. 14

    Re: divinah – You're a disgusting twat.



  15. 15

    Re: MewLover34 – While I think it is very well written and makes very good points there is one flaw. The answer to his question: "Would he have OD'd if drugs were regulated, controlled and professionally administered? " is YES he probaboy would have. And he would have because he would have very well likely done waht SO many other celebrities do and have done - forum shopped. He would have had a libe of Drs waiting to prescribe him whatever he wanted because of who he was like MJ. The problem is, there will always be a way around any system. It is sad that for whatever reason PSH's life came to this. I am glad Brand has been able to remain sober/clean. But PSH was clean 23 years and then something tipped him over the edge. The sadness or the evil voices…. addiction is an evil mistress.



  16. 16

    Perez Hilton is obviously not intelligent enough to figure out what Russell Brand was saying.

  17. Sam says – reply to this


    17

    Re: MewLover34
    I disagree with this statement:
    Would he have OD'd if drugs were regulated, controlled and professionally administered?
    Oxycontin and other narcotics are heavily regulated and prescribed by MDs, and people OD on them every day. The way to stem the tragedies of ODs is not to legalize heroin and other drugs. The way to start healing is to recognize addiction as a disease, not a moral flaw.



  18. 18

    God, Russel Brand comes off as an idiot when he's doing his brand of comedy…but he has to be one of the smartest people in Hollywood. You clearly didn't get what he was trying to say about Beiber and Miley…he doesn't think that they deserve to die, just that Hollywood turns into this whole watching them spiral out of control and waiting on baited breath to see them mess up again…so if they suddenly were to OD, not only would Hollywood not be surprised, they'd all talk about how they saw it coming. No one saw Philip Seymour Hoffman's death coming, no one celebrated him spiraling out of control, we all thought all was fine. So he ODd alone…which is actually what a lot more addicts go through.

    He's also right that the current war on drugs isn't working. I don't thing legalizing them is the right choice…but I do think we need to start treating drug addiction as the mental illness it is and not as some character flaw or rebelling or just…being an idiot or anything else it gets labeled with. When someone comes out as an alcoholic or having an eating disorder or anything like that, people rally around them. Drug addiction though gets them shunned. That's what needs to change. Leave laws in place to punish the dealers and the suppliers but give the addicts some sympathy and help.

  19. JessicaP says – reply to this


    19

    A-Fucking-MEN!!!



  20. 20

    Russell, like all addicts, wants to blame someone else on his addiction. The voice in his head is the ultimate cop out. Responsibility.
    For every addict there are a thousand people who are not.
    People who said no. No thanks. Its ot for me.
    EGO
    Why doesnt Russell blame his huge ego for starting his addiction. Wanting to be cool, wanting to be liked, wanting to have fun?? Thats EGO
    He may die alone in the END…
    But thats not what started it in the beginning
    Dear Russell you mean to tell me mommy and daddy never told you about the dangers of drugs?
    You mean to say you never heard it at school or camp? No one ever had an Uncle or cousin who died?
    Come on Russell
    Stop blaming it all on something else.
    You say its complacency and your answer to it is to make drugs legal?
    Famous words of an addict
    Yes how to stop drugs is to make them legal
    No Russell
    How about take advice from someone who is NOT an addict
    The true anwer is….you never start them to begin with
    Moron



  21. 21

    Re: Blippp63 – Oh and Russell it also helps to not be star struck when replying to a celebrity rant about a serious issue. You may be a good comedian, but you are no genius.



  22. 22

    BOOM! Go Russel. The things that his man stated in this letter are the issues/problems that are being ignored by society. It's sad, really. I'm personally beginning to lose faith in humanity.

  23. steviea says – reply to this


    23

    What an ahole

  24. TH says – reply to this


    24

    …I'm still waiting for Russell Brand to stop talking. With the way he treated his ex-wife, he doesn't have any moral high-ground to talk poorly about the reckless behavior of Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.



  25. 25

    on point

  26. Sycl says – reply to this


    26

    I don't know about Bieber, but Cyrus is certainly not an addict. She's just pretending to be one to draw headlines and attention.

  27. Kat says – reply to this


    27

    Re: … – Unfortunately, your statement is COMPLETELY inaccurate. "The main reason why hard drug are still illegal, is because people on drug are lazy, unproductive." I have known addicts that have been completely functional. These people had careers, families, friends, etc. If you think an addict is someone on the street corner begging for money, you need to open your eyes to the world a bit more. Also, laziness NOT lazyness.

  28. Kat says – reply to this


    28

    As someone who is not a fan of Mr. Brand, he is on point and exceptionally well spoken on this topic.



  29. 29

    I am not sure how Portugal's drug laws would have helped Philip Hoffman. Drugs were not legalized there, they were decriminalized. Meaning selling drugs is still illegal and they do not sell 'safe' drugs. And even in Portugal the amount of heroin Hoffman had would be illegal…you are only allowed to have about 10 days worth. In Portugal they also 'rout' addict into treatment. They do not just assist addicts to just carry on carrying on.

    Philip Hoffman had a lot of different drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and four prescription drugs, and he drank. Mixing drugs like these and alcohol is likely going to cut your life short no matter what.

    "In 2001, Portugal implemented a drug policy comprising a strong health focus linked to the decriminalisation of personal drug use. Though production, trafficking and sales of drugs remain illegal, authorities have for ten years referred people they find in simple possession of illicit substances to a panel that consists of a psychologist, social worker and legal advisor. The panels are called Commissions for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction and those appearing before them can be routed into treatment or simply have their details kept on file with the possibility of a fine should they appear before the commission again within six months. "

    - See more at:

  30. Katy says – reply to this


    30

    I agree with brand about treating addicts as criminals. The things people put in the dope bags are honestly a mystery each time. People go to jail and sometimes helps, but mostly just informs them more about drugs and crime. I don't feel like rambling bc it's a very difficult situation.
    It comes down to how we handle our emotions and stresses inside. It's a hell of a lot easier to use dope, I would know being an ex addict… So far. To make changes in our cultures self esteem issues is always held in the hands of the top selfish and unfathomably greed and hate ridden people.
    Don't get me wrong man kind HAS improved GREATLY as far as being a more civil over savage race, but our evelution is FAR from over. ( sorry to sound "hippy" but these issues are too much for one to handle alone. If we improve ourselves NOT preach but do, that's the best anyone can do.)
    Such a shame, even bigger shame are the billions of untold stories as this.

  31. smcarn says – reply to this


    31

    You all have it wrong. In doing research on this subject, the "evil" voice in their mind is their dysfunctional childhoods. They all have this in common. Even Brand. Child hood trauma accounts for most addictions. Parental abandonment is also a high predictor of addiction and drug and alcohol abusers. The little voice of loneliness is the absence or rejection of a parent. All of this leads to poverty that adds even more trauma and then neglect.