Matthew Perry death: LAPD investigating how 'Friends' star obtained ketamine

It's been over six months since Matthew Perry's overdose, and the case of his death is not closed yet. Local and federal authorities Tuesday were investigating how the "Friends" actor obtained the prescription drug ketamine, which contributed to his death in October.

The Los Angeles Police Department said there is an "open investigation" into the actor's Oct. 28 death. The 54-year-old Perry was found unresponsive in the pool at his Pacific Palisades home and he died at the scene.

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner later announced that the cause of death was "the acute effects of ketamine."

"Contributing factors in Mr. Perry’s death include drowning, coronary artery disease and the effects of buprenorphine (used to treat opioid use disorder). The manner of death is accident," the medical examiner noted.

In a statement, LAPD officials said that "based on the Medical Examiner's findings, the LAPD with the assistance of the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, has continued its investigation into the circumstances of Perry's death."

TMZ initially reported Tuesday that both local police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have been investigating the actor's death for several months, trying to determine the source of the ketamine found in Perry's system.


According to the DEA's website, "Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has some hallucinogenic effects."

"Ketamine distorts the perception of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. It is referred to as a `dissociative anesthetic hallucinogen' because it makes patients feel detached from their pain and environment," the DEA website says.

The drug is sometimes used to counter the effects of depression.

The medical examiner noted in the autopsy report that Perry had been undergoing ketamine infusion treatments for depression and anxiety, but his most recent known treatment had occurred roughly a week and a half before his death -- meaning the ketamine found in his system came from a source other than that treatment.

The levels of ketamine in his peripheral (outer) blood were measured at 3540 ng/ml, and in his central (inner) blood, they were at 3271 ng/ml. To put this in perspective, during monitored surgery or anesthesia, similar levels of ketamine are usually found, ranging from 1000 to 6000 ng/ml.

Perry had openly spoken of his years-long struggle with addiction. He became addicted to Vicodin during his time on "Friends" -- and had done multiple stints in rehab, including during filming of the show.

In 2022, Perry published a memoir detailing his troubles with drugs and alcohol, his issues with weight gain and loss, and other facets of his at-times tumultuous lifestyle, including a harrowing account of an emergency surgery following a gastrointestinal perforation, which nearly took his life.

There was no evidence of illicit drugs in Perry's system when he died, according to the medical examiner's report on the actor's death.

CNS contributed to this report.