Matthew Perry’s Ketamine Overdose Death Being Investigated by 3 Agencies

Matthew Perry’s Ketamine Overdose Death Being Investigated by 3 Agencies

Matthew Perry attends the GQ Men of the Year Party 2022 at The West Hollywood EDITION in West Hollywood, Calif., on Nov. 17, 2022. (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for GQ)

Patricia Tolson

Patricia Tolson

5/22/2024

Updated: 5/28/2024

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Seven months after the death of actor Matthew Perry by a lethal dose of ketamine, the Los Angeles Police Department confirms that a criminal investigation involving three agencies is underway.
In response to an inquiry from The Epoch Times, Capt. Scot Williams of the Los Angeles Police Robbery-Homicide Division reiterated that the results of the autopsy, conducted on Dec. 29, 2023, attributed Mr. Perry’s death to high levels of ketamine.
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner initially concluded that Mr. Perry’s death was an accident.
However, based on findings reported by the medical examiner, Mr. Williams confirmed in an email to The Epoch Times that “the Los Angeles Police Department, with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Postal Inspection Service, has continued its investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Perry’s death.”
At question is where and from whom Mr. Perry obtained the lethal dose of ketamine.
“Hypothetically there’s a potential for criminal culpability depending on what the investigation undercovers, but at this point, we’re not there yet,” Mr. Williams told CNN, adding that investigators are looking into where Mr. Perry obtained the drugs.
Mr. Perry, an American and Canadian actor who gained international fame for his role as Chandler Bing on the NBC television sitcom “Friends,” was found unresponsive and floating in the heated end of a pool at his home in Pacific Palisades, California on Oct. 28, 2023, according to the autopsy report, obtained by The Epoch Times.
Mr. Perry’s death was attributed to the “acute effects of ketamine.”

The Autopsy Findings

Mr. Perry’s death also was attributed to contributing factors of drowning, coronary artery disease, and the effects of buprenorphine, which is used for pain management and treatment of opioid withdrawal, the autopsy revealed.
While prescription medications and loose pills were found in the residence, none was reported to have been found near the pool.
There were no signs of trauma on the body.
The manner of death was ruled an accident related to drowning and drugs.
The drowning occurred after submersion into the pool as Mr. Perry “lapsed into unconsciousness.” The ketamine induced myocardial effects on the heart, which was also said to play a role in his death. While buprenorphine was not present in Mr. Perry’s system at toxic levels, the additional respiratory effects combined with the high levels of ketamine are also listed as contributory.
Mr. Perry was reported to be receiving ketamine infusion therapy for the treatment of depression and anxiety, according to the autopsy report. However, the medical examiner noted that the actor’s last known treatment was one and a half weeks before his death.
The “half-life” of ketamine—which is the amount of time it takes for the total amount of a drug in the body to be reduced by 50 percent—takes three to four hours or less. Therefore, the medical examiner determined that the ketamine level in Mr. Perry’s system at the time of his death could not have been from the infusion therapy.
Mr. Perry, 54, had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema) and diabetes, as revealed in the autopsy report. However, while he also had a history of smoking and drug use, the report stated that he had quit smoking and had been “clean for 19 months.”
Toxicology tests revealed that Mr. Perry had ketamine levels at 3540 ng/ml in a peripheral blood source and 3271 ng/ml in a central blood source.
Levels of ketamine used for general anesthesia for surgery are typically in the 1000 to 6000 ng/ml ranges.
While trace amounts of ketamine were detected in Mr. Perry’s stomach, the precise method used to intake the lethal level of ketamine in Mr. Perry’s case is still unknown.
“No signs of foul play are suspected in this death,” the medical examiner concluded.

Ketamine

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the U.S. Department of Justice describes ketamine as a short-acting, injectable, dissociative anesthetic that delivers some hallucinogenic effects. Ketamine became a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substances Act in 1999.
Ketamine is called a “dissociative anesthetic” because it gives patients a feeling of being detached from their environment and any pain they are feeling. This quality, the DEA suggests, is why ketamine is so “popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and ‘raves.’”
Ketamine also has been used to incapacitate victims of sexual assault.
The drug comes in two forms, a clear liquid and a white or off-white powder.
Powdered ketamine—typically packaged in small glass vials or small plastic bags—is cut into lines called “bumps” and snorted or smoked in tobacco or marijuana cigarettes.
Liquid ketamine is injected or mixed into drinks and is often combined with amphetamine, cocaine, or methamphetamine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about “compounded ketamine products” about two weeks before Mr. Perry’s death.
The hallucinatory effects of ketamine, commonly referred to as “Special K,” last around 30 minutes to an hour. The onset of the effects when injected happens within a few minutes.
The user may experience an increased heart rate or elevated blood pressure. These symptoms decrease gradually over the following 10 to 20 minutes. Using Ketamine can lead to dependency.
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Patricia Tolson

Patricia Tolson

Author

Patricia Tolson is an award-winning Epoch Times reporter who covers human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights. Ms. Tolson has 20 years of experience in media and has worked for outlets including Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. Send her your story ideas: patricia.tolson@epochtimes.us

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