Mathew Perry tells Rome co-eds don't do drugs

'Kills your identity' says Friends star

(ANSA) - Rome, December 18 - US actor Matthew Perry, known for his Emmy-nominated role as Chandler Bing on the popular NBC sitcom Friends, addressed university students in Rome on the dangers of addiction Wednesday. ''Drugs and alcohol take away hope and cancel your identity'', Perry said in a speech which was part of an international experimental course on rehab promoted by Italy's national anti-drugs department. Perry reportedly had two stints in rehab, first in 1997 for a Vicodin addiction and again in 2001 for an addiction to opioids, amphetamines and alcohol. In his address, the actor spoke about his life-changing experience with drug courts in the US, in which the judiciary, defense, law enforcement, mental-health officials, social services and treatment facilities work together to help addicts recover. Perry said he wants to export these problem-solving courts worldwide. Giovanni Serpelloni, head of the Italian government's department of anti-drug policies, who attended the conference along with doctor Earl Hightower, coordinator of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), said Italy has similar procedures but needs to increase the number of substance-abuse offenders being treated in rehab. "Jail is certainly not a place to recover," he said.