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Matthew Perry, In Recovery For Drug Addiction, Believes In Treatment Instead Of Jail For Non-Violent Offenders

2:12 PM, Jul 16, 2013   |    comments
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OXON HILL, MARYLAND (WUSA9) -- Actor Matthew Perry understands addiction firsthand, and that's why he helped launch a conference of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals at National Harbor.

Perry, who's in recovery from an addiction to pills and alcohol, is an advocate for diversion programs for non-violent addicted offenders, instead of putting them in jail.

WUSA9's Andrea McCarren caught up with the superstar today to talk about the power of addiction and the possible solution of drug courts.

"I look forward to the day he is at this convention," said Perry, referring to Ryan, the 21 year-old heroin addict we recently profiled.

"Seeing something like that is very disturbing. It's like staring at the beast, it's like staring at exactly the disease and how it takes over people," he said.

Ryan is a classic example of someone desperately in need of help and struggling to find free or low-cost treatment.

"If you take a guy like that and just throw him into the prison system, he's not going to get better. It reinforces his low self-esteem," said Perry.

The superstar is in Washington for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals conference.  He spoke before a crowd of 4,000 about a solution in which he believes.

"What drug court does instead of just throwing these people away, it gives them an opportunity to get better," said Perry.

After years of battling an addiction to pills and alcohol, Perry says he was obsessed with the existential question: Why are we here? Now, he has found his answer.

"That's why I'm here," he said. "To help people. I'll think about that guy and I would do anything to help him."

Perry will be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to lobby for more funding for drug courts nationwide. 

The actor, best known as Chandler Bing on the mega-hit 'Friends,' is featured on the recent cover of People magazine because he's transformed his Malibu Beach home into a sober living facility for men.

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