The investigation into Matthew Perry's death explained: Why the LAPD and DEA are looking into the actor's passing

GQ Men of the Year Party 2022 at The West Hollywood EDITION - Arrivals
GQ Men of the Year Party 2022 at The West Hollywood EDITION - Arrivals / Phillip Faraone/GettyImages

It's been more than six months since Matthew Perry passed on Oct. 28, 2023 due to what's been ruled an accidental death by the Los Angeles medical examiner. However, the case surrounding the circumstances of his passing has yet to close. The LAPD, in partnership with the DEA (and the U.S. Postal Service, according to MSNBC), are looking into the source of the ketamine that was a contributing factor to Perry's death.

There is no suspicion of foul play but, as NBC News has reported, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to pursue an investigation into a celebrity's drug related passing. The person who supplied Mac Miller with counterfeit oxycodone which led to his death in 2018 was charged as was the dealer that supplied Michael K. Williams fentanyl-laced heroin which caused his death in 2021.

According to the coroner, Perry died from "acute effects" of ketamine, meaning that his reaction to the drug likely came on quickly and was a result of short-term exposure. It was due to this that he drowned. Coronary artery disease and the effects of buprenorphine (used to treat opioid use disorder) were also contributing factors.

Ketamine is an anesthetic that's increasingly become an alternative treatment for people struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders or issues. Per NPR, the drug can relieve severe depression within hours but its effects can wane after a few days or weeks.

Perry had been doing ketamine infusion therapy prior to his death. His last administered dose was given to him a week and a half before he passed. However, that's not believed to be the source of the ketamine in his system because it metabolizes within hours. The coroner's report stated that the level of ketamine in Perry's body was similar to what's used for general anesthesia for surgery.

But, while the drug is used for medicinal purposes, it's also been used recreationally as a party drug since it can cause users to have "out of body" experiences or hallucinations. If someone overdoses on ketamine they can experience seizures or amnesia. Its use has also lead to accidental injury or death via car crash or drowning, and users can fall unconscious or their breathing can slow to dangerous levels.

NPR, based on information from the American Addiction Centers, reports that an overdose from ketamine is rare for people who don't use any other drugs. However, when mixed with alcohol, the risk of a fatality increases and is more likely.

The police confirmed that no illicit drugs were found in Perry's home. A Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office report included a note that the actor had reportedly been clean for 19 months prior to his accidental death. His live-in assistant hadn't noticed any changes in Perry in the hours leading up to his passing, there was no indication that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, he'd played pickleball earlier in the day and hadn't complained about any issues with his health.

The investigation into Perry's death is centered on where, when, and how he received the ketamine that ultimately killed him. It is ongoing so authorities aren't providing much information on their active case. Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more news and coverage.

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