“I’ll tell you what I reckon, Charlie. I’m thinking this is a health problem, not a crime problem…they’re all buckled up and emaciated…You know, the attitude of a criminal, there’s some kind of power in that, right? If you’re the sort of person that’s making dollar from your criminality. But, that…those people are just victims.”
-Russell Brand, “End the Drug War”
“End the Drug War” discusses the drug war in the United Kingdom, which persecutes and penalizes drug use. It challenges the theory that addicts are addicts for life, and harm reduction techniques. Methadone may reduce harm, but keeps the addict sick and weak. according to Russell Brand, a believer in abstinence-based recovery.
The narrator of the film, Russell Brand, is a former heroin addict. This allows light-heartedness, and keeps the tone from being condescending. Russel shares his belief that use is due to unprocessed psychic pain. By condemning users, they go deeper into a shame spiral. If we desire to improve our society, we need to educate and uplift addicts.
Russell explores options for drug addiction treatment. For example, drugs are illegal in Switzerland; but there are clean, legal centers for drug use. Hepatitis C has been lowered in needle users by 38% in only ten years.He also talks to a woman who runs a center for children. Addicts raise some of these children, exposing the children to stress and instability. Criminalization of drug use increases the chance they will enter foster care. These factors make it more likely they will grow up to be addicts. If you’re curious to learn more on current issues or experience addiction – first or second-hand in your life- watch this movie on the epidemic of our time.