Matthew Perry's death Unsolved mystery : Autopsy reveals he used 'recreational' drugs

Although "acute effects of ketamine" were listed as the cause of Matthew Perry's death in the autopsy report, concerns remain regarding the quantity and quality of Perry's ketamine use. Renowned neuroscientist Dr. Bankole Johnson speculates that Perry might have gotten the medication illegally for "recreational" use.


Johnson told Page Six, "It is more likely that this was recreational ketamine use." The combination of ketamine and buprenorphine, which Perry was also taking for opioid addiction, poses certain risks, which he characterizes as "a recipe for disaster."

But a week and a half before he passed away, Perry's ketamine infusion therapy—which is used to treat anxiety and depression—was documented. Johnson highlights the need for professional administration to ensure safe ketamine use. He also cautions against self-administered intranasal methods and highlights the importance of IV drip for precise dosage control.

Since intranasal administration is frequently done on oneself, it is generally less safe. Additionally, this may encourage more aggressive drug use.

Variety cited Jennifer Aniston, a co-star on "Friends" and friend of Perry, as saying, "He had quit smoking." He was getting fit. I just know that he was happy. Funny Matty, I was actually texting him that morning. He didn't feel any pain. He wasn't having any trouble. He was content.

According to toxicology findings, Matthew Perry either misused or obtained the drug illegally. 


His system had significant levels of ketamine, which are higher than normal in monitored surgical settings.

The fact that buprenorphine was used in Perry's death, which Johnson claims can intensify the sedative effects of ketamine and cause unconsciousness, further clouds the picture. In essence, it functions as a catalyst.

The misuse of ketamine for recreational purposes at raves and parties is acknowledged in the report by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner. It does not, however, explicitly state whether Perry abused or obtained the medication illegally.

Johnson makes it clear that licensed physicians and nurse practitioners are authorized to prescribe ketamine as a scheduled medication. He advises against the dangerous and ineffective practice of home microdosing.

Perry's death is clouded by his well-documented history of addiction. "Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing," his memoir from 2022, describes his struggles—among them, a near-fatal colon burst from opioid overuse and several failed attempts at sobriety.

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