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Matthew Perry gets candid on the most important factor in fighting addiction.

The 'Friends' star updated the world on his own struggles as an addict.

Matthew Perry gets candid on the most important factor in fighting addiction.

The world will forever remember Chandler Bing as the sardonic friend who loved Monica Geller and biting sarcasm.

But if you ask Matthew Perry — the real-life person who brought Chandler into our living rooms — having created the iconic "Friends" character isn't the biggest accomplishment in his life nowadays:


"I've had a lot of ups and downs in my life and a lot of wonderful accolades. But the best thing about me is that if an alcoholic comes up to me and says, 'Will you help me stop drinking?' I will say, 'Yes. I know how to do that.'"


Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Perry — who's been open about his struggles with painkiller abuse and alcoholism for years — discussed how fame can be a powerful force for good in the Aug. 28, 2015, issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Being on a TV show that tens of millions of people were watching gave Perry a unique platform to help others, the actor explained.

And, judging from the facts, it's definitely a perspective worthy of our attention.

Painkiller abuse in the U.S. has surged in the past several years.

"The United States is in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic," according to the CDC. While Americans aren't reporting any more pain, the number of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999.

The center reported in 2011 that increasing painkiller abuse was responsible for more American deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.

Gil Kerlikowske, former director of National Drug Control Policy, spoke on its effects in 2011, claiming painkiller abuse “is a silent epidemic ... stealing thousands of lives and tearing apart communities and families across America."

That's why Perry has spoken out about his own demons loud and clear.

The actor explained to The Hollywood Report how selflessness can be key to getting sober.

In his interview, Perry praised Phoenix House, a rehab center based in Venice, California, for helping him get back on the right track.

The center was instrumental in his recovery, Perry acknowledged, but it's ultimately an addict's responsibility to reach sobriety: "They're not the finished product," he said of treatment facilities. "You have to follow it up with a lot of hard work afterwards."

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images.

Perry noted it's better for someone struggling with addiction to think more about others and less about themselves.

“The most important thing [in battling addiction] is always to get outside of your head and help another person. When you're having a bad day, call somebody and ask them how they're doing, and actually pay attention and listen to the answer."

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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