The Mirror - 31 January 1997
Stars Back Oasis Noel's Outburst on Drugs
E's Got a Point By Richard Wallace & Sheree Dodd
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OASIS star Noel Gallagher called for a national debate yesterday after his controversial comments on drugs.
And the move was applauded by others in the entertainment world as well as fans.
The pop genius, who said taking drugs was "like getting up and having a cup of tea in the morning" for many people, urged the Establishment to stop ignoring the issue.
Noel, 29, insisted he was not encouraging youngsters to take drugs, but wanted everyone to own up to their responsibilities.
He said: "If saying a few seemingly outrageous things has helped to instigate an open and honest debate about drug abuse in this country, then I'm pleased.
"I've never condoned the use of drugs. I slam as hypocrites those politicians who condemn drug abuse as criminal, thinking they are doing something positive."
Noel- whose brother Liam was cautioned by cops after being caught with cocaine - added: "The criminalisation of drug users simply isn't working.
"Of course it's important to realise drugs can be damaging to health. I urge all youngsters to educate themselves about the harmful side of drug taking.
"The best policy is don't start in the first place."
TV star Paul Ross added his weight to the songwriter's call for a debate. He said: "Two thumbs up for Noel. Nothing sticks in my throat more than poncey politicians who drink themselves stupid before voting on our futures.
"Noel was simply exercising his right to free speech. He is 100 per cent right. Drugs is a big problem in this country and needs to be discussed openly and honestly."
Pop heroes Dodgy also supported Noel's outspokenness, but singer Matthew Priest said: "What's the point in making a statement about our feelings on drugs when we'll get stick for it?"
Noel caused uproar when he told BBC radio during Monday's Brat Awards: "There's people in Parliament who are bigger heroin and cocaine addicts than anyone in this room right now."
He also backed East 17 star Brian Harvey, who was sacked from the band after claiming he had once taken 12 Ecstasy tablets and the drug could make the user a "better person".
Home Office minister Tom Sackville said yesterday Noel was leading young people into potentially serious trouble by failing to denounce drugs.
He added: "Spoilt brats like him can take drugs and get away with it.
"If you are Gallagher, you have got lawyers, you have got doctors, you can go into clinics. Ordinary people can get into serious trouble with no help. That is what he ought to remember."
Oasis fans gathered outside Noel's London home yesterday to support him,
Layla Fletcher, 17, from Northolt, Middlesex, said: "Just because he says he takes drugs it doesn't mean we are all going to go out and do it."
And Wendy Neil, 17, added: "Im not saying it's right to take drugs, but you can't stop him."
But Depeche Mode singer Dave Graham, who nearly died after two heroin overdoses last year had a dire waring to youngsters who could be lured into the habit.
He said: "Sex and rock'n'roll are fine, but avoid the drugs part - It will ruin your life."
The Mirror - 31 January 1997
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