The news of Matthew Perry’s passing in late October sent shockwaves through the hearts of Friends enthusiasts. The beloved actor, renowned for his role in the iconic television sitcom, was discovered lifeless at his Los Angeles residence on October 28th.
The initial reports surrounding Matthew Perry’s demise suggested a tragic drowning incident in the jacuzzi of his Pacific Palisades home. Emergency services responded to a 911 call, marking the beginning of a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding his untimely death.
What Caused Matthew Perry’s Death?
Recent revelations shed light on the events leading to the demise of the 54-year-old actor. An autopsy report, disclosed by PEOPLE, disclosed that Matthew Perry succumbed to the acute effects of ketamine. The report outlined additional contributing factors, including drowning, coronary artery disease, and the effects of buprenorphine—a medication utilized in the treatment of opioid use disorder. The official ruling deemed the incident accidental.
Despite Perry’s previous struggles with substance abuse, reports indicated a commendable period of sobriety lasting 19 months before his passing. The autopsy further highlighted his involvement in ketamine infusion therapy, with the latest session occurring just a week and a half before his demise. However, investigators noted that the significant levels of ketamine present at the time of death could not be attributed to the recent therapy, given the substance’s short half-life of 3 to 4 hours.
The coroner’s report pointed out the presence of prescription medications and loose pills at Perry’s residence. Still, none were reported in proximity to the pool where he was discovered unresponsive. Furthermore, the autopsy ruled out signs of fatal trauma or foul play, categorizing the death as resulting from an “unknown route of drug intake.”
In the coroner’s words, “At the high levels of ketamine found in his postmortem blood specimens, the main lethal effects would be from both cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression. Drowning contributes due to the likelihood of submersion into the pool as he lapsed into unconsciousness.”
What is Ketamine?
As per information from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Ketamine falls under the category of a “dissociative anesthetic with hallucinogenic effects.” The DEA’s description goes on to elaborate:
“Ketamine distorts the perception of sight and sound, inducing a sense of disconnection and a lack of control in the user. Termed a ‘dissociative anesthetic hallucinogen,’ it achieves a state where patients feel detached from their pain and surroundings. The effects of Ketamine include sedation, creating a calm and relaxed state, immobility, relief from pain, and amnesia, leading to no recollection of events while under the influence of the drug.”
For individuals grappling with substance abuse or anyone concerned about someone facing these challenges, reaching out to the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP is strongly encouraged. They provide valuable support and resources to navigate the complexities of substance abuse issues.