Matthew Perry died of unrestricted ketamine use, report reveals

Matthew Perry’s autopsy report has revealed that the actor had died due to “acute effects of ketamine”.

| Updated: 16 December, 2023 6:41 pm IST
Matthew Perry's Autopsy Raises Questions on Ketamine Use.

NEW DELHI Matthew Perry’s autopsy report has revealed that the actor had died due to “acute effects of ketamine”, which has prompted multiple inquiries into the source and purpose of its use.

Dr Bankole Johnson, a distinguished neuroscientist, has suggested that Perry may have obtained the drug illicitly for recreational purposes, emphasising the potential peril in combining ketamine with buprenorphine—a medication Perry was taking for opioid addiction, deeming it a “recipe for disaster.”

Johnson underscored the importance of professional administration for safe ketamine use, highlighting the use of IV drip for precise dosage control. He further cautioned against the usage of intranasal self-administration of the drug, citing a heightened risk of addiction.

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“Intranasal use is generally less safe as it is often self-administered. This also can drive drug-seeking more aggressively,” warns Johnson.

Perry’s close friend and ‘Friends’ co-star, Jennifer Aniston, had illustrated, “He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy — that’s all I know.…I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling. He was happy.”

However, toxicology reports revealed elevated ketamine levels in Perry’s system, surpassing the typical range for monitored surgical settings. The inclusion of buprenorphine in Perry’s system, according to Johnson, had intensified ketamine’s sedative effects which had potentially led to unresponsiveness.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s report acknowledges ketamine’s misuse in recreational settings like parties and raves but refrains from definitively stating whether Perry illicitly obtained the drug.

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Johnson clarified that ketamine is a scheduled medication which can only be prescribed by licensed doctors, cautioning against risky home micro-dosing due to limited effectiveness.

Perry’s well-documented history of addiction adds complexity to the circumstances surrounding his death. He had illustrated similar details in his 2022 memoir, ‘Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,’ recounting his struggles with addiction, including a near-fatal colon burst from opioid overuse and multiple attempts at sobriety.


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