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Matthew's helping Friends in need


Matthew Perry has been helping young people overcome addiction (Invision/AP)

Matthew Perry has been helping young people overcome addiction (Invision/AP)

Matthew Perry has been helping young people overcome addiction (Invision/AP)

Friends star Matthew Perry has spoken about overcoming his drug and alcohol addiction as he was reunited with his former co-star Lisa Kudrow to receive an award for his work with rehabilitation centres.

Perry battled addiction during the sitcom's successful run and his contribution to a charity helping young people to overcome similar issues was celebrated at a Beverly Hills gala.

He was presented the Phoenix Rising Award by rehabilitation organisation Phoenix House, which helps 18,000 people in 10 US states each year.

On the red carpet at the Montage Hotel in Los Angeles, Perry was described as a hero to young people hoping to emulate his sobriety, but he said: "It's very gratifying but I'm not a hero, I'm just a guy who got sober and I'm passing along the message the best I can and I think that maybe because I was on a TV show more people listen."

Asked how he regarded addiction, he said: "It means you need to take something, a mind-altering substance. That's what it sort of means."

In an interview with People in 2013 he admitted that during his time on Friends he abused alcohol routinely and became addicted to medication a doctor prescribed for him after a jet ski accident in 1997.

The actor recalled the doctor saying: "Here, take this", adding: "I did and I felt better than I ever felt in my entire life. I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn't stop."

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Perry, 45, recently visited one of Phoenix House's treatment centres and was impressed by what he saw. "It's an amazing place that helps teens with drug and alcohol abuse and I went and visited their place about six weeks ago and met some of the kids and it was really wonderful," he said.

Perry collected his award from his former Friends co-star Kudrow, who shot to fame as dippy singer Phoebe Buffay in the long-running series.

After posing with her for photographs together, Perry said they still shared a strong bond.

"It's great having Lisa here, it sort of feels like no time has passed, we pick up where we left off."

Pouria Abbassi, president and CEO of Phoenix House California, said it was important that stars like Perry spoke out about overcoming addiction.

"Matthew Perry had to deal with the illness of addiction himself but he was and is very vocal about it and has raised money to help organisations fight this illness and I can't think of a more deserving person to receive the Phoenix Rising Award," he said.

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