Acclaimed “Friends” star and founder of the Perry House Matthew Perry passed away at 54 on Oct. 28. Now, his autopsy report was made public, revealing that he had ketamine in his system when he was found deceased in a hot tub at his California home. The medical examiner detailed that Perry’s previous history of drug and alcohol abuse likely also contributed to his death. Specifically, drowning, coronary artery disease and the effects of an opioid, buprenorphine, were also ruled as factors in his passing.
Ketamine, originally used for pain relief in veterinary medicine for animals, is considered a dissociative anesthetic, and in recent years has been used in smaller doses to treat severe cases of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in humans, according to the New York Times. The autopsy report revealed that Perry had been undergoing this treatment, but that the excessive ketamine in his system was likely consumed for recreational use a over a week after his last session.
The report claimed, “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.” Perry had previously discussed his many trips to rehabilitation centers, and cited his own struggles as his inspiration to start he Perry House, a sober living facility located in Malibu, California, that shuttered its doors in 2015.
Perry starred as Chandler Bing on the hit television show “Friends” alongside Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc. The television show is widely regarded as a cultural phenomenon. Perry released a book titled “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir” in 2022, in which he discussed the mental health and addiction challenges he experienced throughout his life. He previously wrote that he would like to be remembered primarily for his legacy of giving back to his community.
Many remind the public that the cause of Perry’s death was a result of ketamine abuse, and not ketamine infusion therapy itself.
Important point: Perry’s death was not caused by his ketamine therapy: “The report noted that the ketamine in his system could not have been from that infusion therapy, since the drug’s half life is three to four hours, or less.”
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) December 15, 2023
Others continue to send well wishes to Perry and his family, hoping that the well received actor can finally rest in peace.
So sad the number of demons that haunted Matthew Perry. May he truly rest in peace and without pain.
— Pamela Sedmak (@PamelaSedmak) December 15, 2023
A funeral service was held for Perry on Nov. 3 according to People. Perry’s “Friends” cast mates were all in attendance at the service, which took place at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles near Warner Bros. Studios. Perry never married and had no children, but is survived by his mother, Suzanne Perry, and his stepfather, Canadian journalist Keith Morrison of “Dateline.”