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Earlier this month, U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske presented former Friends star Matthew Perry with the Champion of Recovery Award for “giving a voice to millions of Americans in recovery.”

How has the 43-year-old actor done that, you ask?

By being so vocal about his own addiction and recovery and supporting President Obama’s efforts to fight alcohol and drug abuse in America, to the White House’s way of thinking.

Specifically, his staunch support of America’s drug courts.

Perry, who struggled with prescription pain killer addiction for years and entered rehab twice before getting a grip on his own addiction, first learned about the drug court system several years ago when a friend asked him to speak at one.

“Many of these individuals require treatment, not a jail cell.”

It wasn’t long before Perry decided drug court provided addicts with an option to work on recovery without prison time:

Drug courts are a wonderful solution to the ever-growing problem of addicts being caught up in the criminal justice system. For first-time nonviolent drug offenders, drug court gives them an opportunity to not just be thrown into jail, but to recover–to get in a process of recovery.

According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), drug courts are doing a lot to keep those drug offenders out of the system. For example, studies show crime is reduced as much as 45% more with drug court than other sentencing options, and 75% of drug court graduates remain arrest-free for at least two years.

Congratulations to Matthew Perry on his White House award, and here’s to hoping the drug court system continues its success.

Do you or does anyone you know have experience with the drug court system? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comments below!

Image Credit: Rex Chen via CC