Matthew Perry, the Friends star, died from the "acute effects of ketamine" a drug used to treat depression, his autopsy has revealed. The report claimed that while the manner of death was accident, the contributing factors included drowning, coronary artery disease, and the effects of buprenorphine (used to treat opioid use disorder).
The 54-year-old who played the role of Chandler Muriel Bing of the popular sitcom, was found "unresponsive in the pool at his residence" on 28 October.
Perry Was Undergoing Ketamine Infusion Therapy
The autopsy report which was released by the Los Angeles County medical examiner's office on Friday, ended speculation surrounding the death of the actor who, in the past, had struggled with drinking and drug use for several years.
The report also revealed that the Friend's star had undergone ketamine infusion therapy. However, the ketamine detected in his system could not have originated from his most recent therapy session, which took place approximately a week and a half before his death.
"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," the autopsy report said. It also stated that the level of ketamine detected in Perry's bloodstream was comparable to the quantity typically administered for general anesthesia.
Perry Was Open About His Struggles with Addiction
The New York Times reported that ketamine, a potent anesthetic, is gaining popularity as an alternative treatment for challenging mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other difficult-to-manage disorders. Additionally, it is being used recreationally.
In his memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," Perry recounted how he descended into alcoholism during his teenage years and later developed an addiction to pain medication after a jet skiing accident in 1997. Perry detailed the significant impact of his addictions on his life, including a period where he slipped into a coma and spent approximately $7 million on his journey to sobriety.
Following his death, Perry's Friend co-star Jennifer Aniston revealed to Variety that he was doing well prior to his death. "He was happy. He was healthy. 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."