Actor Matthew Perry is backing a new push to find funds for and spark awareness about America's DrugCourt system because he insists he would be a useless citizen behind bars if experts didn't help him with addiction issues.

The former Friends star struggled with substance abuse issues at the height of his fame, but has managed to turn his life around and get clean - and now he's spearheading a campaign to help others.

He says, "DrugCourt is this huge system of judges across America who are very knowledgeable in addiction and what they do is they take first-time, non-violent drug offenders and instead of just throwing them away into jail, they put them in a two-year rehab situation.

"When I was in active addiction, I broke some laws and I was fortunate that I never got arrested, but, had I got arrested and thrown into the prison system, I wouldn't be here trying to help others... so every year you get to see the before and after of these people.

"It's a great thing and it saves hundreds of thousands of dollars."