Matthew Perry’s fatal ketamine dose is subject of criminal probe

Matthew Perry’s death from the acute effects of the prescription drug ketamine is the cause of a criminal investigation, with authorities looking into where the actor obtained the drug, LAPD officials told the Times.

Perry was found dead Oct. 28 in the hot tub of his swimming pool at his Pacific Palisades home. Traces of ketamine โ€” which is sometimes used to treat depression โ€” were found in Perry’s stomach, according to the Los Angeles County medical examiner. But the level found in his blood was about the same as that used during general anesthesia, his autopsy showed.

How Perry came to have so much ketamine is now the subject of an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department with help from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Service, Capt. Scot Williams of the Times Robbery-Homicide Division. TMZ was first to report the investigation.

Ketamine in Perry’s system caused cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression, the medical examiner reported. Other factors contributing to the actor’s death included drowning, coronary heart disease and the effects of buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder.

The actor was best known for playing the sarcastic and witty Chandler Bing on NBC’s “Friends” for 10 seasons, from 1994 to 2004. In his 2022 memoir, Perry said he began abusing substances at the age of 14 and landed the role in “Friends.” ยป a decade later. Fame increased his addiction to alcohol and drugs. At one point, he says in his book, he was taking nearly five dozen pills a day.

According to the medical examiner, Perry had been receiving ketamine infusion therapy every other day for some time, but had reduced that use, and his last known infusion was a week and a half before his death.

The medical examiner said the ketamine found in Perry’s system at the time of his death could not have come from that earlier infusion because it usually disappears in detectable amounts three to four hours after taking it.

According to his autopsy report, Perry was playing pickleball around 11 a.m. that morning and his assistant last saw him at 1:37 p.m.

Returning to Perry’s home on Blue Sail Drive, the deputy found him floating face down. The helper jumped into the water, pulled Perry’s head out of the water and called 911.

Paramedics arrived and moved Perry to the grass, where he was pronounced dead.

A legal drug commonly used as an anesthetic, ketamine is increasingly being offered “off-label” in private clinics to treat depression and other mental health disorders, according to addiction and treatment specialist Dr. David Goodman-Meza. infectious diseases at UCLA. .

Some people also snort or inject it recreationally to experience euphoric or “dissociative” effects that cause a person to feel separated from their own body, Goodman-Meza told the Times in December. In very high doses, it can immobilize people and cause hallucinations, an experience called “K-hole.”

The medicine can make breathing more difficult and increase demands on the heart. If someone already has coronary heart disease and takes high doses of ketamine, “then that could speed up your heart, create more demand, but then your arteries won’t have the capacity to meet that demand,” he said. explained the doctor.

The autopsy report indicated that Perry had no other medications in his system and had been sober for 19 months at the time of his death. There were no signs of drugs or illicit paraphernalia in his home.

The medical examiner also noted that Perry, 54, suffered from diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which refers to a group of diseases that cause blocked airways and breathing problems. There was a time when he used to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day.

The coroner’s investigator interviewed a person close to Perry who described him as being in “good spirits” and said he had quit smoking two weeks before his death and was in the process of weaning himself off ketamine.

In 2006, the National Institute of Mental Health concluded that an intravenous dose of ketamine had rapid antidepressant effects. About 300 clinical trials have been conducted and have shown that ketamine works extremely quickly compared to traditional antidepressants and can relieve depression for a period of time that can last days or weeks.

Times Staff Writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report.

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News Source : www.latimes.com


With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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