Damon Albarn has described his 1990's heroin habit as "incredibly productive" in a new interview with music monthly Q but added that the drug is a "cruel, cruel thing".

Potentially drawing heavy criticism from anti-drugs campaigners, the 46-year-old says he has addressed his former use in a new song, revealing that he managed his intake by operating a "five days on and two days off" approach.

"[Heroin] freed me up. I hate talking about this because of my daughter, my family. But, for me, it was incredibly creative," he told Q.

"A combination of [heroin] and playing really simple, beautiful, repetitive shit in Africa changed me completely as a musician. I found a sense of rhythm. I somehow managed to break out of something with my voice."

In the interview, he says he returned home from a Blur tour "at the height of Britpop" and found the drug "in the front room". "I just thought, 'Why not?' I never imagined it would become a problem."

Blur's 1997 No 1 single Beetlebum was about Albarn's dalliance with the drug and he deals with his former habit again in a new song called You and Me from his debut solo album Everyday Robots. "Tin foil and a lighter, the ship across. Five days on, two days off" are among the lyrics.

"I can move forward now without all the nudge nudge, wink wink innuendo I've had in the background for years", Albarn says but he also maintains that heroin is a "cruel, cruel thing".

"[Heroin] does turn you into a very isolated person and ultimately anything that you are truly dependent on is not good."