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What is ketamine, the drug linked to Matthew Perry’s death?


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Matthew Perry received an infusion of the anesthetic ketamine days before his untimely death on October 28.

Perry, 54, was found dead in a jacuzzi at his home in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.

An autopsy showed he died from the acute effects of ketamine. Drowning “in the heated end of his pool” also contributed to the actor’s death.

The beloved “Friends” star reportedly received a low dose of ketamine at an intravenous infusion clinic. The IV infusions are monitored by staff during and after.

Perry was being treated for “anxiety and depression,” according to the coroner.

However, the report stated “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.”

Perry may have used ketamine on his own, as a recreational drug without vital signs monitoring.

Perry was a recovering drug and alcohol addict. He had been “reportedly clean for 19 months,” according to the coroner’s report.

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Ketamine is a popular mental health therapy that has been used to treat symptoms of depression.

Research has shown the effectiveness of ketamine, but experts say ketamine clinics aren’t as regulated.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, ketamine is a drug similar to psychedelics. It makes users feel detached from their pain, and environment, and distorts the perception of sight and sound.

Also known as the party drug Special K, it can be used to get high by snorting, mixing it in drinks, or smoked by sprinkling it on marijuana or cigarettes.

The high usually lasts 2 hours or less, according to the DEA. Users may become nauseated, vomit, and/or have slow thought process and memory problems.

Overdose may cause movement issues, drowsiness, body numbness, slowed breathing, and loss of consciousness.

Users may die if their respiratory rate drops too low. Normal respirations are between 12 and 20 breaths per minute.

It is not advised to go swimming or sit in a tub/jacuzzi after taking ketamine. The drug may cause drowsiness and lower respirations, causing the user to slip under water and drown.

Ketamine is only FDA approved for use as a nasal spray in treatment-resistant depression.

Clinics use ketamine as an “off label” drug for treating depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, and chronic pain, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine.

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Clinic staff monitors the patient’s vital signs during and after the infusions.

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