Blur singer criticised over heroin comments
Damon Albarn, the Blur frontman, has been heavily criticised for describing his past heroin use as "very agreeable and very creative".
Albarn, one of the most influential artists of the Britpop movement 20 years ago, refused to describe his use of the drug as a "mistake" and insisted it was part of him "growing up".
The 46-year-old singer, who has a teenage daughter, made the comments in an interview to plug a new solo album.
He told 'Time Out' magazine: "I don't totally see it as a mistake. That's the point. It was part of me growing up.
"I didn't go out and look for it. I turned up at my house and there it was, made on the table. What should I have done? Leave my life and reject it or stay in my own house with my girlfriend and somehow assimilate it into my life? Once I'd tried it, I found it initially very agreeable, and very creative."
Those who work regularly with heroin addicts described his comments as naive and dangerous. Mark Dempster, one of the country's most respected addiction experts who runs a London drug counselling clinic, said it was irresponsible for those in the public eye to dismiss the dangers of heroin.
He added: "It is really not a good idea for a rock star to suggest that heroin can help you be creative. In music you get this whole rock and roll thing where it is seen as living on the edge but that is a rather naive view.
"To send out a message that heroin is glamorous is very dangerous because you may have young people who are already smoking cannabis and this simply helps make the leap between the two that much easier.
"There may be people who are able to take heroin recreationally for a short period of time, but the reality is that for most people it does not take very long at all for you to become physically addicted.
"People who glamorise heroin use are those few who have never hit rock-bottom or ended up in prison." (© Daily Telegraph, London)