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Criminal investigation into Matthew Perry's ketamine death ongoing, LAPD says

LAPD and federal agents team up to find out who gave Matthew Perry ketamine
LAPD and federal agents team up to find out who gave Matthew Perry ketamine 02:57

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Tuesday that there is an open criminal investigation into Matthew Perry's death from acute effects of ketamine.

The LAPD said with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, it is continuing its investigation into the circumstances of the actor's death, specifically looking into the source of the ketamine found in Perry's system.

Perry, 54, was found unresponsive at his home on Oct. 28, 2023 "floating face down in the heated end" of the pool.

The "Friends" sitcom star had gone out to play pickleball around 11 a.m. the morning of his death and returned home two hours later, witnesses told police.

According to LAPD, his assistant had gone out to run errands shortly afterward — the last time Perry was seen alive — and found the actor dead after returning. Perry was pronounced dead at 4:17 p.m.

The Los Angeles Medical Examiner's Office autopsy report said the death was accidental with his cause of death listed as the "acute effects of ketamine," with contributing factors listed as "drowning, coronary artery disease and buprenorphine effects." 

The autopsy report found trace amounts of ketamine in Perry's stomach, but the amount found in his bloodstream was the same as would be used in general anesthesia.

The actor, who struggled with addiction, had been receiving medically supervised ketamine treatments for depression and anxiety. At the time of his death, Perry had been clean for 19 months. The autopsy report noted that his last prescribed ketamine treatment was a week and a half before his death.

The report concluded that Perry's cause of death was not from his prior infusion therapy as the drug's half-life is just 3 to 4 hours, but rather the ketamine was taken in another manner.

Ketamine has been approved by the FDA as an anesthetic since the 1970s, and research shows it may help some patients when used as a medically supervised treatment for depression and anxiety. 

Experts say it also has risks. The drug has a dissociative effect, seemingly separating the mind from the body, and can cause hallucinations. It is known for its use in nightclub and party culture. The DEA warns that an overdose of ketamine can cause unconsciousness and dangerously slowed breathing.

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