Addiction is a disease, not a choice. Matthew Perry’s public battle helped alleviate stigma, Northeastern experts say

A year before his sudden death, “Friends” co-star Matthew Perry appeared on a podcast where he shared that he didn’t want to be remembered for his time on the sitcom, but for his work helping others with addiction.

When Perry died last month, people did recall his acting work, but also remembered him as an advocate for those with addiction. During his lifetime, Perry was vocal about his own battle with alcohol and drugs, documenting his struggles in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” and serving as a sponsor for others in recovery.

These efforts made a difference, according to Allison Bauer, an associate teaching professor in Northeastern University’s department of health sciences and former director of the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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