Russell Brand has condemned "extremely stupid drug laws", blaming them for the untimely death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Writing for The Guardian, Brand cites his own experiences as a recovering drug addict and chastises the media's treatment of pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber - who have each been in the headlines for taking drugs.
"Addiction is a mental illness around which there is a great deal of confusion," writes Brand. "Which is hugely exacerbated by the laws that criminalise drug addicts.
"People are going to use drugs; no self-respecting drug addict is even remotely deterred by prohibition. What prohibition achieves is an unregulated, criminal-controlled, sprawling, global mob-economy, where drug users, their families and society at large are all exposed to the worst conceivable version of this regrettably unavoidable problem."
He goes on to cite the "progressive and tolerant" drug laws of Portugal and Switzerland, which "have seen crime plummet and drug-related deaths significantly reduced".
"Philip Seymour Hoffman's death is a reminder," says Brand, "that addiction is indiscriminate. That it is sad, irrational and hard to understand. What it also clearly demonstrates is that we are a culture that does not know how to treat its addicts.
"Would Hoffman have died if this disease were not so enmeshed in stigma? If we weren't invited to believe that people who suffer from addiction deserve to suffer?"
On the subject of Beiber and Cyrus, Brand says: "We are tacitly instructed to await their demise with necrophilic sanctimony."
"The reason I am so non-judgmental of Hoffman or Bieber and so condemnatory of the pop cultural tinsel that adorns the reporting around them is that I am a drug addict in recovery, so like any drug addict I know exactly how Hoffman felt when he went back out.
"In spite of his life seeming superficially great, in spite of all the praise and accolades, in spite of all the loving friends and family, there is a predominant voice in the mind of an addict that supersedes all reason and that voice wants you dead. This voice is the unrelenting echo of an unfulfillable void."
You can read Russell Brand's article in full here.