The subject of Matthew Perry's long-term struggles with addiction is a bit outside the subject matter of this blog--though at a glance Perry's personal issues could explain the odd trajectory of his post-Friends career, I don't actually see any connection between those problems and ratings issues in the 2010s.
I'm talking about the drug issue today only because I recently read that Perry's drug problems had been triggered by a jet ski accident in 1997 and a course of prescription drugs. Reportedly, Perry said that Vicodin made him feel better than he'd ever felt in his life. I have a certain degree of empathy for anyone who struggles with addictions--in my previous career as a criminal defense lawyer, I encountered a lot of good people who were fighting with everything they had and unable to stop the destruction of their own lives. Anyone can make a bad decision, or even a series of seemingly small bad decisions, that starts a chain reaction he never anticipated and doesn't know how to stop.
I have to admit, though, that the empathy kicks up a notch when it turns out that even that initial bad decision was absent. This story also clears up what's always been an open question in my mind--why Perry fell into drug problems in his late twenties, with a couple of good years on Friends behind him.
I'm glad to have run across this story, but equally glad that Perry wasn't running around in the nineties yelling, "It's not my fault! It was prescription drugs!" like some high-profile people I won't name have done. I'm happy that he's made such positive strides and impressed with the work he's doing with drug courts, and I really hope to see more of him in film/television...if that works well for him.