Matthew Perry’s death investigation: Here’s what we know

Los Angeles police, US Drug Enforcement Administration, and US Postal Inspection Service looking for who supplied Friends star with ketamine

James Liddell
Wednesday 22 May 2024 15:51
Related: Courteney Cox reveals late Friends co-star Matthew Perry still ‘visits’ her

After a medical examiner ruled his death an accident last year, Matthew Perry’s passing was considered a closed case.

But almost seven months on an investigation, at both federal and local level, has been opened into who supplied the Friends actor with the ketamine which caused to his death.

The investigation into how Perry came to have so much ketamine involves the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the LAPD confirmed on Tuesday.

Hours before the LAPD’s statement, DEA told The Independent that it “does not confirm or comment on ongoing investigations”. The Independent  has contacted USPS for comment.

Two key questions remain: who provided the drug, and under what circumstances.

Matthew Perry, pictured in 2017. The 54-year-old was found dead at his Los Angeles home in October 2023 (Getty Images)

On 28 October 2023, first responders found Perry, 54, unresponsive in the hot tub at his Pacific Palisades home. The actor was pronounced dead at the scene.

A toxicology report confirmed that he had died from “acute effects of ketamine”, which caused the actor to drown in the heated waters. Sources close to the actor said he was undergoing ketamine infusion therapy to treat depression and anxiety.

Yet his last infusion therapy was one and a half weeks before his death. The coroner noted that the ketamine in Matthew’s system “could not be from that infusion therapy, since ketamine’s half-life is three to four hours, or less”.

His autopsy, released in December, found that the amount of ketamine in his blood was in the range used for general anesthesia during surgery. It was listed as the primary cause of death, which was ruled an accident with no foul play suspected, the report said.

Matthew Perry (right) played Chandler Bing on nineties hit sitcom, Friends (NBCUniversal via Getty)

Drowning, coronary artery disease and buprenorphine effects were listed as contributing factors to his death, according to the LA County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Authorities are looking for the person who might have supplied a secondary source of the drug, and whether Perry received narcotics in the mail, according to TMZ which first broke the news.

Authorities believe they could assist them track down Perry’s ketamine dealer. No arrests have been made so far.

Federal postal inspectors will also leverage their tracking software, mail-related investigation tools and industry expertise as part of the investigation. Under USPIS guidelines, first-class letters and packages cannot be searched for drugs or seized, as they are protected under the Fourth Amendment and cannot be searched without a warrant.

Perry’s drug addiction spiralled following a jet ski accident in 1997, where he became addicted to Vicodin, a powerful opiode-based painkiller.

Throughout the course of his life, the actor said that he spent $9 million on his quest for sobriety, went to 6,000 AA meetings, and entered rehab a total of 15 times, he wrote in his 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

By 2021, he said that he had overcome his addiction.

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