‘Peaky Blinders’ Paul Anderson Slapped with Fine in Drug Possession Case

His lawyer says the actor was getting into character to please fans.
Peaky Blinders
Photo by Robert Viglasky via IMDb

Arthur Shelby is a troubled soul. The Peaky Blinders character must live under his younger brother, Thomas Shelby’s shadow, and deal with often hard-to-watch, but somehow, relatable, acts of violence, towards both others and himself, self-medicated with drugs and Jesus. And based on recent headlines (in the real world), it appears that, at least for some of such, the actor who plays Arthur, Paul Anderson, opts for Method acting, which aims to foster genuine portrayals by immersing oneself in and embodying the internal motivations and emotions of a character. So, basically, acting like the character off screen as well as when the cameras are rolling. 

As The Guardian reports, Anderson has been fined for possession of drugs. These include crack cocaine, amphetamines, in addition to prescription substances, diazepam (Valium) and pregabalin. The incident occurred on Boxing Day, the party-fueled British holiday that is held the day after Christmas. His lawyer claims that the actor uses the drugs to break into character to please fans who recognize him. 

Where did Anderson land himself into trouble? At his local pub, of course, who contacted the coppers after the bar’s manager noticed “crack cocaine fumes coming from the disabled toilet after the actor walked out,” MailOnline reports. He was with a friend and his baby. 

On Thursday, the 48-year-old actor stood before Highbury Corner magistrates court, facing charges of possessing class A crack cocaine, class B amphetamines, and two types of class C prescription drugs. He admitted to all four counts, resulting in a total fine of £1,345.

Reports indicate that Anderson only spoke to acknowledge his pleas and to verify his identity and north-west London address.

Anderson’s attorney, addressing the court in mitigation, reportedly stated: “You will recognise the defendant from a very intense part that he has played in a recent television programme. He is often recognised and does his best to please fans of the show by slipping into character.

“He was recognised that Boxing Day and tried to play up for these people. And because of the lifestyle he leads people often give him inducements.” The lawyer further noted that Anderson had not been using crack cocaine, but conceded: “He has found himself in an unfortunate position and should have had the strength to say no.”

While this news is hard not to pass on for all the Peaky Blinders fans, there’s a lot to unpack that’s not so funny. First, turning to the U.S., if you want to get angry, remember that while cannabis remains a Schedule I substance, cocaine (even though the sentencing guidelines have historically been much harsher, as the result of laws that tend to lock up more poor than rich folks), is only a Schedule II. And, while we don’t know the exact details of how and when Anderson was using, any stimulant as strong as crack, for the sake of one’s health, should not be paired with amphetamines. 

Diazepam, the brand name of Valium, is a benzodiazepine. It’s in the same anti-anxiety drug class as pills such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan. When benzodiazepines hit the market in the 1960s, chemists thought they’d cured anxiety. However, as is becoming increasingly reported, unlike cannabis for anxiety, such medications are just too easy to develop a physical dependence on when used other than prescribed, which is as-needed, or on a short-term basis. 

While, if you want to take a tolerance break from cannabis, while you might miss it, one can just put down the herb and not think too much about it, with benzos, suddenly stopping them after continued use is no joke, like, comes with risks of seizures if not done correctly. As detailed in the Ashton Manuel, the bible for getting off of benzos, if one is weaning off something like Xanax or Klonopin, it’s actually recommended to switch to Valium and then slowly taper off as it’s less potent and has a longer half-life. As High Times reported, Sub-anesthetic ketamine infusions, which are already used for treatment-resistant depression (TRD), may also help people through benzodiazepine withdrawal, new research published in Neuropsychopharmacology shows.

However, of the substances found, MailOnline reports that Anderson later tested positive for opiates and cocaine (not crack cocaine), the court heard, so while there’s possession charges, we have no idea of the actor’s personal use or medication schedule. But we’re on your side, Arthur Shelby. 

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  1. “…MailOnline reports that Anderson later tested positive for opiates and cocaine (not crack cocaine)…”
    There is not (and never will be) a drug test (blood, saliva or hair) that can test for crack/freebase cocaine. No test can differentiate cocaine powder (cocaine hydrochloride) from crack cocaine because they are exactly the same drug, which no difference in pharmacological effects! (contrary to very popular opinion)
    This is also why US legislation drafted in the 1980s handing out prison sentences for the possession of tiny amounts of crack, yet slapping people on the wrist with a fine for possessing the SAME quantity of cocaine, but in hydrochloride (powder) form was SO WRONG AND VIRTUALLY RACIST because black people were the majority of crack users and white people the majority of powder users. Indeed a few decades of that NON-SCIENCE nonsense legislation, created by (among others) drug ignoramus Joe Biden, resulted in vast numbers of black people having their lives ruined for possessing literally only a few doses of cocaine!!!

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