RUSSELL BRAND today claimed that drug addiction is caused by capitalism and suggested that it is connected to a love of shopping.
The comedian told left-wing activists that the public is encouraged by the “system” to ignore suffering addicts in order to avoid undermining our economic model.
Mr Brand – a former heroin addict – described drug abuse as “amplified consumerism” as he claimed the problem would be better under socialism.
Speaking at a conference in Brighton organised by hard-left pressure group Momentum, he said: “If you have large numbers of dissatisfied people and the only way they can change their lives is through alcohol or drugs, then of course they’re going to do that.”
The performer then added: “Addiction is just amplified consumerism, the idea that you can make yourself feel better just by buying something.
“Addiction is an amplification of consumerism, and consumerism is the creed of our time.”
Mr Brand also suggested that people are discouraged from trying to help others in case it undermines the capitalist system.
He said: “We are encouraged to think about thigs in an individualistic way.”
And he said the Tories are trying to abolish “compassion and empathy and tolerance” in the same way Margaret Thatcher stripped back the public sector in the 80s.
Mr Brand compared himself to Prince William – who last week asked whether drugs should be legalised – as he called on politicians to debate whether drug use should no longer be a crime.
He blamed the “rational and materialistic world” for curbing public conversation on drugs and alcohol.
Mr Brand was speaking alongside shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth – who echoed his suggestion that austerity is driving vulnerable people to drugs.
Mr Ashworth said: “The economic…