Matthew Perry has been incredibly open about his struggle with drug addiction and faced a lot of bad press in his way for it, but he’s turned a terrible time in his life into something incredibly positive by working to help others recover and get their lives back on track. That work hasn’t gone unnoticed, either – the actor was given the Champion of Recovery award (which I didn’t even know was a thing) from the White House and US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske (we have a drug czar?) this week for “giving a voice to the millions of Americans in recovery”.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske presented the award to Perry at a meeting attended by Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and others. The certificate of appreciation lauds the actor for “giving a voice to the millions of Americans in recovery.”
Perry called the ONDCP honor “surreal.” “During my darkest times, I never could of imagined receiving an award at the White House,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Had I been arrested, I would be sitting in prison somewhere with a tattoo on my face,” Perry tells THR. “I’m very lucky that I never got arrested.”
After the White House meeting, Perry joined drug court advocates in speaking at a Capitol Hill briefing with Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. He also managed to write a blog post for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“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 the 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.”
Good for him, seriously. He’s living proof that if you really want to turn your life around and you work hard at it and surround yourself with people who want that for you, as well, you can do it. Thumbs up, Matthew Perry.