Wendy Williams Promotes Addiction Treatment With New Billboard

By Kelly Burch 10/19/18

Williams, who has battled cocaine addiction in the past, recently launched a campaign geared toward addiction-recovery through her nonprofit.

Wendy Williams

Talk show host and actress Wendy Williams has launched a Times Square billboard promoting her talk show and her non-profit organization that provides grants for drug education, prevention and rehabilitation programs. 

Williams has previously talked openly about her substance use disorder, and aims to “bring light” to the fact that addiction “doesn’t have to be your demise,” she told Page Six

Williams has a history of cocaine addiction. She says that her drug use affected her life, even while she was successful. 

“I lost a little over 10 years of my life regarding substance abuse, but I’m now going into Season 10 [of The Wendy Williams Show],” she said. “I’m married, I have a great career and a flourishing business… it’s not that you fall down, it’s how you rise. And if you rise, then you reach back. This is a reach back.”

Williams has said in the past that she was able to abuse drugs while in the spotlight because she was so good at her job. 

“I was a functioning addict though,” she said. “I would report to work on time and I walked in and all of my coworkers, and including my bosses, would know but instead of firing me, you see, I would grab my headphones and arrogantly walk into the studio and dare them to fire me because I was making ratings.”

After her own experience with addiction and seeing her son use K2, or synthetic marijuana, Williams launched The Hunter Foundation to provide education and prevention programs. Earlier this year the foundation launched the Be Here campaign, which is focused on increasing access to treatment. 

“We want to be here for the people who need us, and we want them to be here for the graduations, the first steps, the recitals, the laughs, the journeys and more,” the campaign’s website says. “Our goal is to support the treatment and recovery of those facing drug addiction, work towards creating lasting solutions through legislation and support innovative treatment.”

Using statistics about the prevalence of addiction and overdose death rates, Williams’ organization declares, “This is everyone’s problem.” 

Williams hopes that by sharing her family’s experiences she can help others. 

“I have seen addiction up-close,” she said. “As a mother, wife, daughter, and friend, I cannot stand by and do nothing while there are people struggling to overcome substance abuse. Life is too short and we need to come together to help others.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.