Death of Matthew Perry from 'effects of ketamine' under investigation by multiple agencies

Matthew Perry's death is under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and other U.S. agencies more than six months after he was found unresponsive and face down in the "heated end" of his pool in October 2023.

The LAPD confirmed the joint investigation in an emailed statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday. A key part of the investigation is the source of the ketamine that led to Perry's death, according to reports from NBC News and ABC News. Detectives have reportedly been interviewing individuals who could have information on the source of the drugs, per ABC.

"Based on the Medical Examiner’s findings, the Los Angeles Police Department, with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Postal Inspection Service, has continued its investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Perry’s death," LAPD's statement read.

The DEA declined to comment, citing a policy against speaking on "ongoing investigations." USA TODAY has reached out to the U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service for comment.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's office released Perry's autopsy report in December. His death was ruled an accident, with the cause being "the acute effects of ketamine." Contributing factors were drowning, coronary artery disease and the effects of buprenorphine.

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Buprenorphine is "an opioid-like drug used in the treatment of opioid addiction as well as acute and chronic pain," according to Perry's 29-page autopsy report obtained by USA TODAY at the time. There were no signs of "fatal trauma and no foul play suspected," according to the report.

What we know about Matthew Perry's death in October 2023

On Oct. 28, 2023, the Los Angeles Fire Department confirmed to USA TODAY that firefighters responded to Perry's Pacific Palisades home at 4:07 p.m. the day of his death and found "an adult male unconscious in a stand-alone jacuzzi."

The last person to see him alive that day was his live-in personal assistant when Perry returned from playing pickleball, according to his autopsy report, which was conducted one day after the actor's death.

The assistant had left Perry's house for several hours to run errands. The assistant discovered his body at 4 p.m. and responding officers pronounced him dead at 4:17 p.m.

There were no pills, drugs or medications found near the pool, according to his autopsy. He didn't have alcohol or drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl in his system.

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Autopsy results concluded Perry had 'high levels of ketamine'

Ketamine is a "dissociative anesthetic" that "has some hallucinogenic and distorts the perception of sight and sound," according to the DEA's website.

The autopsy describes Perry as a “54-year-old male with history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema, diabetes; drug use in past — reportedly clean for 19 months; heavy tobacco user for many years but currently not smoking; on ketamine infusion therapy with most recent therapy reportedly one and a half weeks before death."

The death of actor Matthew Perry, pictured here in 2015, is under investigation over six months after his shocking October death.
The death of actor Matthew Perry, pictured here in 2015, is under investigation over six months after his shocking October death.

The medical examiner said the amount of ketamine found in his system was as high as 3,540 nanograms per milliliter. "Levels for general anesthesia are typically in the 1,000-6,000 ng/ml ranges," the report notes.

Perry was "reported to be receiving ketamine infusion therapy for depression and anxiety," according to the report, but "the ketamine in his system at death could not be from that infusion therapy, since ketamine’s half-life is 3 to 4 hours, or less." The autopsy also said the method of intake was unclear.

Contributing: KiMi Robinson, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Matthew Perry investigation: Police investigation ketamine death