The news of Matthew Perry's passing saddened many over the last week, and that includes local officials who were able to meet the actor at a drug-abuse conference 10 years ago.
District Judge Donna Mowrer, Brian Ford, court probation officer, and Robbie Telles, a captain with the Clovis Police Department all attended the National Association of Drug Court Professionals conference in 2013 where the "Friends" actor spoke.
"He was just a very big supporter of what treatment courts do," Ford said. "So, our interaction was actually very positive."
Those at the conference were able to take pictures with Perry and hear him speak about his struggles with drug abuse, which is why he was an ambassador for the organization.
"They have different celebrities that believe in addiction recovery and treatment, and they sponsor it," Mowrer said.
The NADCP, also branded All Rise, is an organization that helps jurisdictions across the country ensure substance use and mental health disorders are addressed in treatment courts that promote treatment and recovery for our most vulnerable, according to their website.
Ford said he was sad to hear about Perry's passing.
"It actually came as a big shock," he said. "The struggles that he's gone through and the heart he had for individuals in recovery; he will definitely be missed."
Ford said treatment courts can work.
"(About) 75% of the people that attend a treatment court do not reoffend," Ford said.
Millions of people going through addiction are treated in these courts, according to Ford. He said it's not just for substance abuse either.
"There's veteran treatment courts, there's family treatment courts, there's mental health treatment courts," he said. "They have just grown over the years."
As of 2021, 28 counties in New Mexico and 12 of the state's 13 judicial districts have at least one drug court program.