White House Honors Matthew Perry for Drug Court Advocacy

By Valerie Tejeda 05/08/13

The ONDCP awards the actor for "giving a voice to the millions of Americans in recovery."

From "Friend" to addiction advocate.
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Matthew Perry has been honored at the White House for his advocacy on behalf of drug courts and for "giving a voice to the millions of Americans in recovery." Earlier this week, the 43-year-old former Friends actor was presented with a Champion of Recovery award by Gil Kerlikowski of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), for supporting President Obama’s efforts to combat addiction, as well as being open about his own experience with addiction and recovery. "During my darkest times, I never could of imagined receiving an award at the White House," said Perry, speaking at a Capitol Hill briefing with Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. The actor struggled for years with an addiction to prescription painkillers which he commonly mixed with alcohol. "Had I been arrested, I would be sitting in prison somewhere with a tattoo on my face," Perry tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm very lucky that I never got arrested." After two stints in rehab and a few years sober, Perry has become a staunch supporter of treatment-based local drug courts, visiting the White House many times to speak on their behalf. "Over time, I learned that drug courts are a wonderful solution to one of the biggest problems facing our criminal justice system: people suffering from substance-use disorders who are caught in the cycle of arrest and incarceration," Perry wrote in a post that appeared on the White House website. "Many of these individuals require treatment, not a jail cell, and drug courts provide them a means of getting the treatment they need."

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.