Ketamine found in Matthew Perry’s body after death was ‘likely recreational:’ medical expert



Matthew Perry died from the “acute effects of ketamine,” according to his autopsy report, and a medical expert suspects that he may have obtained the drug illegally.

“It is more likely this was recreational ketamine use,” Dr. Bankole Johnson, one of the leading neuroscientists and physicians in the world, tells Page Six exclusively.

“It would be questionable medicine to provide ketamine to someone also using buprenorphine — a true recipe for disaster.”

The LA County Medical Examiner’s Office noted in their report that the “Friends” alum had been undergoing ketamine infusion therapy for “depression and anxiety,” and that his last known treatment was a week and a half prior to his death.

Johnson, who is the CEO and founder of Casa Privée in Miami, says, “Ketamine is generally safe when administered by trained health professionals in a medical setting for the treatment of depression or post traumatic stress disorder.”

He explains that it’s best for medical experts to distribute the ketamine via the an IV, where “the dose can be calculated accurately.”

Matthew Perry’s autopsy report showed he had ketamine in his body at the time of his death. Getty Images for GQ

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

He adds, “The best advice for those needing ketamine treatment is to find an excellent doctor and specialized facility like ours, wherever it might be.”

According to Perry’s report, ketamine’s half-life is less than three to four hours or less, therefore “the ketamine in his system at death could not be from that infusion therapy.”

“Ketamine is generally safe when administered by trained health professionals in a medical setting,” Dr. Bankole Johnson tells Page Six. Denver Post via Getty Images

The beloved TV star had reportedly been clean and sober for 19 months leading up to his death on Oct. 28, at which point he was found unconscious in his residential pool at home.

His close friends also did not suspect that the “Fools Rush In” star had relapsed.


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His “Friends” co-star Jennifer Aniston recently told Variety, “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.”

Perry’s “Friends” co-star Jennifer Aniston did not suspect the actor had relapsed. Getty Images

According to Perry’s toxicology findings, 3,540 ng/ml of ketamine were found in his peripheral blood source and 3,, 271 ng/ml were in his central blood source.

For reference, in “monitored surgical-anesthesiologic care,” general levels are within the 1,000 to 6,000 ng/ml ranges, per the report.

Perry also had buprenorphine, an opioid-like drug used to treat opioid addiction, in his body when he died.

Perry reportedly used ketamine infusion therapy to treat his mental health. David M. Benett

Johnson tells Page Six exclusively, “Ketamine can be sedating and those effects can be compounded by opaites such as buprenorphine. In particular, buprenorphine can enhance sedation and lead to being unresponsive.”

The LA County Medical Examiner’s Office noted in their report that while ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that is used for medical or surgical purposes, people often misuse it for “recreational drug use” at parties, nightclubs and raves or “other illicit settings” due to its “short duration hallucinatory effects.”

However, the report does not explicitly confirm that Perry misused the drug or obtained it illegally.

Perry was found dead of an apparent drowning in his pool on Oct. 28. WFLA

Johnson tells us that ketamine is a a scheduled medicine and can be prescribed by a doctor with a proper license or nurse practitioners.

“Micro-dosing can be done at home, but this can be risky and the effectiveness is generally poor,” he says.

Perry’s reps did not immediately return Page Six’s request for comment.

Perry’s history of substance abuse and drug addiction was well-documented, as even he had opened up about his issues in his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.”

Experts say ketamine can have “short duration hallucinatory effects.” Matthew Perry/Instagram

The “17 Again” star admitted in the 2022 book that his colon burst due to opioid overuse a few years prior, and doctors gave him just a “2 percent chance to live.” 

He explained at the time, “I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. No one survives that.”

Perry also shared in the bestselling memoir that he once spent about $9 million trying to get sober and once nearly died from consuming 55 Vicodin tablets and a quart of vodka.

Perry was open about his addiction issues in his memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.” Instagram/mattyperry4

This past Thanksgiving, the actor’s family honored his legacy by creating the Matthew Perry Foundation, a charity for those “struggling with the disease of addiction.”

The “Whole Nine Yards” star always wanted to create a space where he could help others overcome drug and alcohol dependency.

Perry was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills neighborhood on Nov. 3 with his family and “Friends” co-stars present.



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