Russell Brand
Russell Brand said there is no global consensus on the legalisation of drugs.

Russell Brand has made an emotive plea for an end to the arrest and punishment of drug-users.

The flamboyant star spoke at a UN conference in defence of the 'Support, Don't Punish' campaign against criminalising drug use.

Addressing the 57th Session Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Brand, who is a reformed drug addict, said there is "no reason to pursue this experiment of prohibition which has lasted a century."

Dressed in his trademark casual style, he said: "My personal experience is, I was using drugs because I was in a great deal of spiritual, emotional and physical pain and what I needed was a solution to those problems and what was provided to me to reach that solution was a context of compassion and tolerance.

"What bigger context is there than the planet as a whole? If we can create a planetary context where drug addicts are treated as people with a health issue - not a judicial, criminal issue - that would create the perfect context for us to advance."

"Nobody at all is helped by drugs being made illegal, unless of course there is a conspiracy to marginalise, condemn and persecute disenfranchised members of our global community.

"I'd hate to think that was the situation - that certain countries didn't matter, that certain classes didn't matter, that certain races didn't matter," he added.

"So unless that's the situation there's literally no reason to proceed with this experiment of prohibition which has lasted for a century, that has done nothing but bring death, suffering, crime, created a negative economy, and deaths all over Mexico, deaths all over Malaysia, unnecessary death penalties.

"You'll notice I've said the word 'death' a lot," he said. "What I think we need to look at is an alternative way of thinking, an alternative approach of consciousness."

The TV and film personality added that, contrary to claims made by the head of the International Narcotics Control Board, the UN body for enforcing international drug treaties, there was no global consensus on dealing with drugs.

"I spoke to people this morning that have told me there isn't no real global consensus around drugs," he said.

"For example, in Uruguay cannabis has been made legal, whereas in Singapore you can get the death penalty for using cannabis."

Brand, who has been candid about his own battles with drug addiction, recently backed a Government petition calling for an independent review of UK drug laws, which attracted more than 100,000 signatures of support.

He has also spoken with Oprah Winfrey about the issue of drug addiction on her Prime TV Show and atrributed the death of Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman to "stupid drug laws.".