Matthew Perry Did Himself In?

For kids who seek an out-of-body experience with the anesthetic ketamine used for pain, surgery, and tranquilizing animals, look no further than Matthew Perry’s death at age fifty-four as an example of a “trip” gone wrong.

It’s been almost two months since Perry, who played the wise ass Chandler Bing on “Friends,” the popular sitcom, drowned in his pool.  Perry was found unresponsive in his hot tub in Pacific Palisades. The Los Angeles Coroner’s office reported that the “cause of death” was acute effects of Ketamine that kids can use as a recreational drug.

A handsome charming bachelor originally from Canada, Perry never married but dated a bevy of starlets like Courteney Cox (also on “Friends”) and Julia Roberts. He struggled with booze and drugs that nearly killed him before this drowning, but had been sober for seventeen years as he confessed in his best-seller memoir Friends, Lovers, and The Big Terrible Thing. A consummate professional on the Friends set, he abstained from substances while working, but his co-star Jennifer Aniston couldn’t be fooled when his benders from the night before oozed from his pores like garlic.

When under the influence, Matthew admitted to taking 50 pills a day for his anxiety and depression.  He confirmed on television with Piers Morgan that addiction is a brain disease, not a sign of weakness.  For the last decade, he has been living with an addiction expert, a “sober companion” in a platonic relationship.

Perry, heavier than in previous years, suffered from coronary artery disease and was prescribed buprenorphine or Subutex, an opioid narcotic medication used to treat narcotic addiction. He also had prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications in his house, but there was no evidence of loose pills or vials near the pool on the day he died.

The actor was given ‘off label’ ketamine as an injection by his doctor. It is being used by doctors now to treat depression, pain, and substance abuse disorders with good results, but it has to be monitored carefully.

Matthew was given a shot a week before his death.  Ketamine, under a doctor’s supervision, has a shelf life, the time it takes the total amount of drug in the body to be reduced by 50%, of about 2.5 hours in adults and 1 to 2 hours in children, according to the American Addiction

The toxicology testing found Ketamine pills in Perry’s stomach.  This means that he must have taken Ketamine on his own as the inoculation’s effects would have worn off.  Ketamine levels in Perry’s system were at 3540mg/Ml.  In monitored surgical anesthesiology care, levels of general anesthesia are typically in 1000-6000 ng/ml range.

Therefore, Matthew may have had a near-death experience, experienced confusion, reduced breathing, hallucinated as he slipped under the water.  The actor who helped so many with his advice gleaned from years of drug and alcohol addiction in the end probably overdosed himself.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting. Currently, she is targeting her writing about recovery to parents whose children have substance abuse disorders.

1 Comment

  1. Wendy Sherman on December 24, 2023 at 12:43 am

    Good goin’ Wes! Don’t know about (eeee-gads) 50 pills a day but the rate of clinical depression has “notably jumped” with “one out of six adults now suffering. Perhaps
    your well-written atticle will shed some light.

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