10/08/2012 Newsnight


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The government says problem drug users cost this country over �15bn


a year. Should we, could we, do more to break their addiction - or


is the compulsion just too strong? This is a thing where I know it is


a disease. Whenever I see it doesn't matter, I sat there in the


Hackney, and now I'm in The Savoy, I'm jealous of then. The recovering


drug addict and comedian Russell Brand is here to tell us why this


country is getting it wrong on drugs. With him the man who helped


him get clean, a writer who thinks the war on drugs is a cruel hoax


and a Tory MP who advises the government on drug policy. And


they're calling them the women's games - the Olympics when female


athletes finally came into their own. We'll ask three gold medal


winning rowers whether London 2012 will turn more British women onto


Good evening. The comedian, Russel Brand is famous for a lot of things


that don't have much to do with his jokes, one of those things is he


used to do hard drugs. The Government estimates there are


330,000 problem drug users in this country, nearly half of whom,


149,000 have been prescribed methadone to deal with their


addiction. In a documentary to be broadcast on BBC Three next weerk,


Russel Brand says that's plain wrong. We will speak to him in main.


First a taste of his, typically understated documentary. This is a


film about drugs. About taking drugs, and getting off drugs.


Nowadays, I don't drink or take drugs.


Am I'm a little bit cool, a bit of twit and a sort of think I'm Jesus.


Ten years ago, I couldn't get enough of them. Cannabis, booze,


acid, speed, coke, crack, smack, that's heroin, I took drugs every


single day. I know you talk about abstinence, that's fine, I think,


some patients the vast majority of mine, who are on methadone, do very,


very well. Methadone is a drug, if you're on methadone, you're on


drugs, for me, it is rearranging the furniture on the Titanic.


would love everyone to live on drug-free lives, on nothing. I'm a


GP, long enough to know that's not possible. You're not a drug addict


are you, it doesn't make difference the money, the famous, the fame,


the women, none of it, I would rather be a drug addict. If I


didn't have my programme, I would an addict like that, I would do it


gladly. The reason I don't is the things I talk to you about that,


and I know methadone, I would be using on top. Russel Brand is here.


Welcome. I've watched most of the


documentary, more than that, and I guess the first question is why did


you make it, why ask you think it was important to make? Perhaps that


was a catalyst, to make the documentary, but primarily, is I


wanted more people to be aware of the abten nins based of recovery,


which I think is the problem. is going cold turkey? No, but, it


is having a programme, and a method to deal with a life, free from


drugs. We saw at the beginning, the things I found most shocking and


amazing, about the footage is you're watching yourself, taking


drugs, in your late 20, you look miserable in those pictures, and


you're sitting in The Savoy, and you're energying the former self,


you wish you were an addict, a lot wouldn't snunds What must be


frustrating for the families with drug and alcohol problems, is the


al lure and potency of the disease is such it makes people make a lot


of irrational and difficult kegsd decisions. The things I did when I


was using and drinking, were boundless, and fathomless and


nonsensical. People would say why did do you that, why would you say


that? Why? There's a sadness, and maldis, that they're trying to get


with drugs. What do you think people should be doing?


Government is directing too much funds towards methadone and harm-


reduction and not giving the correct information. By focusing on


criminalising people that use drugs, I think, you're criminalising an


entire class and culture, that if it was treated as a health issue,


would be able to progress away. want to decriminalise it? That's a


sensational way of saying what I'm saying, I don't think


criminalisation works. I don't know, because I'm not qualified to talk


about the legislative issues. The legal status of the drugs, made no


difference to me when I was using. A lot of people will look at the


film and other things about drug addicts and say this is a self-


inflicted problem. Why should we spend more money trying to help


these people. You admit it is expensive the treatment you have,


it is expensive? I don't know it is that expensive, comparatively


putting people in prison and the social costs and cost it is has on


families and our society in general. This problem exists, itel continue


to exist, if we address it successfully, we will see


improvement. You as an economics editor will understand.


understand we don't have much money, why give more money? We have to


spend it, otherwise we'll be spending on on prisons, and


prisoners, and dealing with it. It is unavoidable, it is the


reallocation of funds. It shouldn't be legal? I don't want to encourage


it, we shouldn't spend the message to young people, that it is cool. I


don't take drugs, or drink. Certain type of person should never take


drugs or alcohol. People have Chancellorism, or addictive


tendencies, should avoid it. This issue, like non-other, shows a


disjunk of people and Government they govern. Your key point is it


is a disease, a disease, a discord, rather than something that people


have just got into, they could have shopped, it is self-inflicted


problem? That's my belief and impiercal understanding of ten


years of using drugs, and ten years free from drugs. Well, we're joined


by a few people to talk about this. But before we widen the debate, we


got Russel Brand and Chip Somers of the drugs rehabilitation charity,


Focus 12 Centre, the columnist, Peter Hitchens, who has written the


book, the war we never fought, and David Burrowes who helped right


Tory rights in rehabilitation. We have one more clip from Russel


Brand's documentary. Here people get more than methadone, they run


an abstinence problems b problem. didn't become an addict, when I was


17, my manipulation started when I was divo, control started when I


was three. It is the hardest thing. That's honest, and that's not


honest, because it is revealing and painful. I sat in this room, and


sat I was here naked. You weren't though, just to clarify, what goes


on, it is a cult. We have Chip Somers, Hitchens, David Burrowes,


Peter Hitchens. Russel Brand says, this is a disorder, we should treat


dug addiction, like a disease, do you agree? No it is a crime. It


involves the possession, of a Class A drug which a criminal offence.


Which people do voluntarily and do it for pleasure. And if we continue


to treat it as a disease, which they should be supervised, there


will be more, and more of it, as there has been over the past, many


years. We do, not any more enforce our laws on the subject. The word


addiction, assumes the person involves have no free will.


have no sympathy, for the people who are trapped on drugs? I have


sympathy with anybody, who gets themselves into trouble. But


sympathy isn't the point. What I don't have is sympathy with


somebody who deliberately breaks a known law. They are criminals and


should be punished. If they were punished for this, they would by


and large, not get into the trouble they get into, and there would be


many, many fewer of them. We don't do that. Look at the figures,


possession of Class A drugs, of the ones convicted, fewer than one in


ten is sentenced. This is a Class A drug the most serious. They are


criminals, what is wrong? understand what Peter is saying,


and his fraus centralisation, as a person who has to dealing with drug


addicts, they're a frustrating people to deal with it. If you find


it in yourself, to deal with compassion and love, rather than


aggression, there's room for lecture. You've been aggressive,


since we met before. That's the bigotry, that's fun.


When you have reason, you can learn, We are Why is a comedian, given a


programme, to push a policy about drugs? Because he has first hand


experience. Why is our debate on drugs so debased this is the kind


of thing we're reduced to. Why are you angry, what happened to you


Many young people are betrayed. By feeble Government and feebleest.


What do you think we should do. Enforce law on people on drugs.


More people in prison. Distered for taking drugs, which would ruin


their lives. Hay, I want that, I don't think people should take


drugs. I want them deterred by effective, policing,lies ton what


I'm saying, you will learn something. I heard it before.


You're not ignorant, but innocent. Effectively policing. And


interruption, nothing resembling reason, thought or fact. And you


are making a programme on drugs for the BBC. And I am not. That is why


it is exactly the reason. Let's bring in one of the people who was


in film, who was qualified do be in the film. He is someone who got


Russel Brand and many people clean on drugs, what do you think is the


answer? What do you think, is it compassion, locking up? They're


simplistic terms, of course, everybody who takes a Class A drugs


is committing a crime. But people do it, because it is pleasureable


to begin with, and then they become addicted, and at that point you


need to intervene in a kind and compassionate way. Nobody sets out


to become highly addicted to drugs. It is a disease, we should treat it


as a disease or disorder? All I know is everybody who walks through


the door of my treatment centre, did not intend to end up that way,


they started off, perhaps with good intentions but did not intend the


way, it crept up on them, and they became ill and sick, those need


help and we try and give it to them. They would be better off if we


deterred to do it in the first place. Instead the Government mugs


the taxpayer, to �300 million, to give drugs for people who are


already on them. That was shocking to find out that, 150,000 people


are prescribeed methadone in this country. Should we be actually


giving drugs to people, and trying to keep them off the street, rather


than helping to kick the addiction. Tirks toss careing to give them


methadone, and this Government recognised this big tanker who has


been throwing the money, hasn't had a dest destination, it is keeping


them in the treatment and not an exit. There's not much, you have


been in power for two years. have come out drug-free, and we're


paying people in areas to provide rehab, and opportunities to get


people off drugs and get back into society, proper housing and work,


and pay them by result, not just to get into treatment, but out of it.


But the truth is the Government is going to end up using methadone,


because it is cheap, surely? It is not cheap in the long run, to be


years and years in methadone, we're getting Jerry addict for those on


methadone so many years, it makes sense for them to get it off


law abiding public are punished through Government for heavy


taxation, for, because the Government is not prepared to


punish people for breaking the law on drugs, which they enforced would


prevent people, following the road which Chip has described. Would it


cost more money, surely? wouldn't cost it endlessly. What we


have done is committed to an endless programme, of mugging the


public to give methadone to people who are on drugs. Which, has, over


the past 40 years, used guy beganic... He is Victorian time


machine. Itch the Conservative is a soppy Liberal Party. There's


nothing easy and soppy taking off drugs. Rustle is one of the lucky


ones to come and tell the story, the reaction to rehab is not enough,


we want more people to access, and tell the story, whatever you think


of the story, it's a successful story to tell. Some of the most


inspirational people, you can hear about, are those who have got


through, the throws of addiction, and manage today recover. Who is


telling the storeive the parent of the young person? Danger of a drug


user, who gets no help or deter yents from the Government. Who is


telling the story of the taxpayer, who has to finance the failed


endless project. But he goes on television to tell it from the


sympathetic point of view. But, I think, Russel Brand should get a


word in. Peter we want the same thing, I don't think anyone should


take drugs, what we want to offer is a sensible solution to a


difficult problem. And criminalisation and imprisonment


isn't working. It is wonderful to hear you talking in compassionate


terms. I understand the frustration, but what you say is antiquated,


that fog horn madness from bygone times won't help you. No reason,


just abuse. That's not abuse. would love to see the embase


between you and Conservative Party. The more the better, because you


see how useless the Conservative Party is. Your policy has been,


tried, and tested, I'm finishing my sentence, your policy has been


tried for 40 years, and what we've seen now is the consequences of it.


What we see is a large number of drug takers, far greater than 40


years ago, the policy has been applied. Of decriminalising, in all


but name. It would, if it were not signed by international treaty, to


prevent. It is unofficial but there. We have the result of what you're


calling for, and it is terrible. It is time we had a change. Would you


better off if you were sent to prison? I don't think it would be


much assistance, no. You talk about abstinence? Abstinence programmes


in prisons is one of the things we should look at. Penal system is one


of the areas where there's room for improvement. It is a mentality


shift, and that's why Peter thinks it sounds vague. It is attitude


shift, it is a health problem, as as oppose today a criminal problem.


Do you think it would help Russel Brand if he went to prison. Tifplt


would be different it it made him afraid. It is not designed to take


everyone who takes drug into prison. It is deterred them to stop them to


going to prison. It doesn't stop some people, once you done that,


they believe you, if you stop sending people to prison, they know


you don't mean it and the criminal justice system:. It is not


expensive. We shouldn't be toll traiting drug use, but once we got


them in the system, we should make them get rehab, and that's what we


do, not just throw them methadone, but make sure they get into


recovery systems. You make no serious effort to keep drugs out of


prison. The both, peerlt and Rustle, have, people don't care about drug


addict, they don't want to spend money on them. They want them away


somewhere. They don't, if they It is a news swans. People don't


care enough, to put them in prison. People do care a great deal,


especially the drug problem, enters their family stkpeer, and the


disaster of drugs, attacks your own family and circle. People are so


devastated, they wonder, where the Government is. We haven't much time.


Do you think people don't care enough That's basically the problem,


although I have learnt to love you Peter, and I'm going to kiss you on


the lips, I'll challenge more of your prejudices. We'll deal with


your homophobia. How can one deal with one who cannot debate sensibly.


Why are you brought here and not making serious problems, you don't


know how to debate. He uses the expression, criminalisation, the


prern who criminal ices is the person who commits the offence.


Otherwise all you're saying all crime is caused by law. You people


commit crimes and they are punished by it.


I think he is a lovely fella, deep down and confused. We're not saying


the law should entitle people to react in ad hoc fashion, in a


problem, like alcoholism, and drugs there should be proper treatment.


People like Chip, who understand how abstinence based recovery works.


My work is to draw attention, that's all I can do, a component of


that is tolerance and understanding to people. If this affects people's


lives all over our country, and we have to approach it with Ben never


lens. You are doing great. From Russel Brand to swaelty women.


Let's go. Research shows nearly half teenager girls think sport is


unfeminine, too messy, and too much sweat. Commentators who were


watching the boxing, were in approval, they're worried about


their soft bones. But not to mention thair their ten Gold Medals.


We're wondering whether the warm They said lone 2012 would be the


equality Olympics, when women's sporting achievement made the big


time. This was the first time every


national team, included at least some women. There wasn't always


liberating. The Saudi women got their own


prostitutes of the Olympics cash tag on switer. Here is the first


that everyone will remember. The first woman boxer, ever to win


Olympic gold. But medals don't pay the rent. A point Lizzie compelled


to make, after she battled the rain to claim the first medal of the


Games. She said there was massive sexism in the distribution of money


and airtime for her sport. Last year, nearly two-thirds of sports


response certainship money went to men. Half of one per cent went to


women's sports. The rest went to sports with men and women, but in


practice, most of the men got that. Then again, why would you response


certain sports, that get 5% of traditional media coverage at best.


That might be one reason why the short list for the 2011 Sports


Personality of the Year didn't have a single woman on it. That lack of


positive roll models might explain why girls drop out of doing regular


exercise between 10-14. Far more than boys.


We've had two weeks of women in prime time, running, jumping,


fighting or cycling their way to medals, and a lot of genuine public


aclimb. Is that enough to turn us into a nation of women's sports


fans, let alone schools girls who think it is cool to sweat in public.


To be discussed. Well I'm joined by three of our golden girls, all


roars. Katherine Grainger, Anna Watkins who together took gold in


the Women's Double Sculls, and Sophie Hosking who won the gold


medal in the Lightweight Double Sculls. You brought your Gold


Medals along, but we haven't got them in the studio. Russel Brand


might have them. We're not sure if a kiss took place, but in the Green


Room anything can happen. Is it a fantasy to think we're all going to


be switching on women's sports, all the days in inequality will be


forgotten in the shower of Gold Medals? I sincerely hope not. I


think it is a dream at the moment. But if anything, the Olympics, have


shown us the dreams can come true, and the success we're experiencing


is something we can hope for and now it is coming in across a huge


number of sports from a huge number of different female athletes. This


is increasing, over the owe limb pirks, there's no reason why that


can't get to a point, that we're matching the men, if not


outperforming them. I think something has changed from people


watching you rowing, and boxing? do think so. I've been overhearing,


controversials, walking around, and the people are talking about the


Olympics and women's sports N a way that you don't expect or perhaps


wouldn't have heard a few years ago, there's a massive appetite for it.


What's the problem? I was looking at the statistics before this, and


I was depressed to see one in ten, teenager girls does regular


exercise, they're saying it is unfeminine to be sporty. What are


the barriers, do you think doing sport in schools if you're a woman?


When I was in school, which was a while ago now, the girls were I


think, they wanted to give up sport as soon as they conscience and


worried, that for instance when they rowed, they didn't want to get


muscley. Why didn't you do that, what was the difference? For me, it


was because I have two brothers, and always surrounded by sport when


I was young, and something that my family thought was important to


take part in. I don't think it was bothered by the image side of


things. Have you encourterd, anything, sexism, any of you, or


what sexism have you encountered? It is very good, right at the


moment. We know in our sport, his historically, it is the men's teams


got the results. Did the men have BMWs It's a coincidence, because it


is the individual feelers, that choose who to give cars, to it


wasn't any grand strategy, but it happens, there was a dozen for the


men and none for the girls. does that make you feel, do you


care? Now I have to walk to work. That's like the Japanese football


team, women in the back, men in the front and they're the ones who won


the gold medal? I was horrified by that It is hard, because there's a


lot of inequality out there. If we're talking about developing


women's sport at every level from grass roots to the top level, it


needs to be seen, to be something respected and valueed, and that the


female athletes, are worthy of the success they enjoin, that comes a


lot of different ways, not just in results and funding, it should be


equalised? How comfortable are the of the subject at the case, of the


women's sports. They're excited about the medal, but they're hot,


they don't look like east German shot puters, is that something, as


long as you get the attention and money, it doesn't matter if people


have talking about your figure? Well I think some of the men are


pretty as well. Athletes, generally are attractive. I think for the


women it is important. Because, whilst, for us, it is not


necessarily the way we want to be seen or remembered, for the kids at


school, if their role models are reality TV shows, that's not going


to make them work hard, and achieve through perseverance, whereas if


they have something they can get their teeth into. It is OK, if it


is about sexy and attractive, as long as people do sport? Once it


has a positive impact. We're not naive, what young girls look up to


is something on the telly. If there's glamour on that, it is not


what we're aiming for, but it will help. Do you worry about people,


talking about, they look pretty as well as getting medals? I want


women on the television, and have the conference and press, because


they look glamorous, it is a difficult thing about response


certainship, the big money goes to the more glamorous at the males.


will see if that changes, in the next year. We'd rather see it based


on the performance. Successful women should be the ones earning


the big numbers. That won't always work. Maybe hopeless idealism, but


maybe a change in attitudes. OK, well, now, we're going to have some


papers, we have the Daily Telegraph, Mo Farah facing the final 2078


tomorrow, next chance of getting a gold. Shambles about the girl found


for a week in her granny's house, which officers had searched three


times. And costume drama, the synchronised swimming, they compete


to which country in the world is best at splashing about. That's all


tonight. If an interview this morning about getting rid of the


target of two hours a week in sports in schools the Prime


Minister said the two hours that laid down is often met through the


Indian dancing classes. I got nothing against Indian dancing


classes, he said, but that's not really sport. We thought we'd end


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