Russell Brand asks Brighton police chief about drugs

Posted On 16 Aug 2012 at 9:44 pm

Brighton and Hove’s most senior police officer is due to appear in a TV programme about drugs this evening (Thursday 16 August).

The BBC programme, Russell Brand – From Addiction to Recovery, is to be presented by the actor, comedian and former heroin addict.

The comedian came to Brighton in April when he interviewed Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, the divisional commander of Brighton and Hove.

He asked Chief Superintendent Bartlett about an initiative known as Operation Reduction which involves several organisations working together to disrupt drug dealing and tackle drug abuse.

The initiative is intended to prevent repeat offending whether those offences involve drugs or crimes committed to fund users’ habits.

The aim is to achieve this by securing referrals for drug users to specialist treatment services.

Chief Superintendent Bartlett said: “I was delighted to contribute to a documentary that allows Sussex Police to highlight the work it does with partners like the health and social care charity CRI (Crime Reduction Initiative), which works with individuals, families and communities affected primarily by drugs or alcohol.

“They also help those affected by crime, homelessness, domestic abuse or anti-social behaviour.

“Russell Brand was funny and charismatic and the interview was both interesting and relaxing despite him being mobbed by fans as we walked to the pier where he happily posed for photo after photo.

“I know that he went to visit Mike Pattinson, of the CRI, and his team and met with some of its users.

“He was really taken with the incredible work they do there and I hope tonight’s programme highlights this.”

Mr Pattinson, director of operations at CRI, said: “It was a real pleasure to have Russell Brand come and sit with my team and three of our users and listen to their stories.

“At one stage it was quite intense as Russell has very strong views about the use of methadone to help drug addicts.

“It was great to be able to highlight the range of services that work best for people in various stages of addiction from our work with the police to the provision of sterile injecting equipment through to our recovery focused projects that support abstinence.

“Substance misuse and addiction are complex issues that require broad and creative responses and this is what we strive to deliver in Brighton and give.”

The BBC said: “Ten years ago Russell Brand was addicted to heroin, his career was unravelling and he was told he may only have six months to live.

“The story of how he battled to stay clean of drugs is at the heart of this eye-opening and searingly honest, personal film in which Brand challenges how our society deals with addicts and addiction.

“It comes in the wake of the tragic death of his friend Amy Winehouse, which was the spur to this exploration of the ‘condition of addiction’ which, he believes, is misunderstood and wrongly treated.

“Brand meets a whole range of people from whom he draws insights – scientists at the cutting edge of research into the psychology of addiction, those involved in innovative recovery treatments and drug addicts themselves.

“Is addiction a disease? Should it be criminalised? And is abstinence-based recovery, which worked for Brand, a possible way forward?

“In this documentary Brand challenges conventional theory and practice as well as government policy in his own inimitable style, confronting the reality of addiction head on.

“Along the way he draws on his own experience to try to help one of the addicts he meets to take the first steps towards recovery.

“Armed with his own heartfelt beliefs and new insights gained during his journey, Brand has the opportunity to change the hearts and minds of policy-makers when he is invited to give evidence before the Home Affairs Select Committee investigating the efficacy of current drug addiction treatment in the UK.”

The one-hour programme starts at 9pm on BBC3.


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