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New Matthew Perry Foundation Follows Late Actor’s Lifelong Advocacy for People Struggling with Addiction

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Top line

Close friends of the late actor Matthew Perry have reportedly launched a new foundation named in his honor to support people with drug addiction, continuing Perry’s efforts to help others after his own decades-long struggle with drug addiction.

Highlights

The Matthew Perry Foundation, which Perry reportedly planned to launch before his death, will aim to help people struggling with addiction and is now accepting donations, and will be managed by the National Philanthropic Trust, several media outlets reported Friday.

Perry, an actor best known for playing Chandler Bing in Friendsspoke about his struggle with addiction since his teens and said he wanted to be remembered first for his advocacy efforts rather than his acting endeavors.

Perry lobbied Congress in 2011 to fund drug courts, an alternative to incarceration that aims to help individuals recover from addiction and reduce future criminal activity.

In 2013, Perry transformed his former Malibu, California mansion into a place for sober living, which reportedly operated until 2015.

Perry received the Champion of Recovery Award from the Obama Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2013 for his advocacy efforts.

In his memoirs, Friends, lovers and the big terrible thing, published in 2022, Perry has spoken openly about his struggles with addiction, and the book’s dedication reads: “For all the sick.” You know who you are.”

Perry died on October 28 at the age of 54 after being found unresponsive in his hot tub at his Los Angeles home, and the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office is still investigating the cause of his death.

Key context

Perry has spoken openly about his struggles with drug addiction in numerous interviews. He said he had struggled with addiction since the age of 14, when he began drinking alcohol. He later became addicted to painkillers after being prescribed Vicodin following a jet ski accident in 1997. Perry said he had a personal rule not to drink on set, but he often filmed Friends, in which he starred from 1994 to 2004, sweating and shaking from a hangover. His co-star Lisa Kudrow reportedly said his castmates all knew about his addiction issues and felt they were “hopelessly apart.” Perry said his classmates tried to help him, but he denied his substance abuse problems. He went to rehab several times while working on Friendsnotably in 1997, 2001 and 2003. In 2016, Perry stated that he did not remember filming seasons three through six of Friends because of his drug addiction. In 2018, Perry suffered a gastrointestinal perforation due to opioid abuse, leaving him in a coma for two weeks and in the hospital for five months. While in rehab in Switzerland in 2020, Perry forged prescriptions to obtain 1,800 milligrams of Oxycontin per day and daily ketamine infusions. In October 2022, just before the release of his memoir, Perry stated that he had been sober for 18 months. Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman and her friend Athenna Crosby have both said Perry was sober before his death.

Surprising fact

Perry has said in interviews that he can’t watch Friends due to the addiction issues he faced during filming. “I haven’t watched the show and I haven’t watched the show, because I can say ‘drink, opiates, drink, cocaine.’ I could tell season by season what I looked like,” Perry said in an interview with the Q with Tom Power podcast in November 2022.

Large number

9 million dollars. That’s the amount Perry estimates he spent on his efforts to get sober.

Crucial quote

“I’ve been a sober guy for 17 years. I mean the night I got into AA, Matthew brought me in,” Hank Azaria, a recurring actor on Friendssaid on Instagram after Perry’s death. “The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together. As a sober person, he was so caring, generous and wise and totally helped me get sober.

Further reading

Matthew Perry Foundation created in his honor to help people with addiction (CNN)

Matthew Perry’s Radical Honesty About His Struggle With Addiction Helped Us All (Rolling Stone)

The one where Matthew Perry writes a memoir about drug addiction (New York Times)

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