Late Friends actor Matthew Perry was found dead in his Los Angeles home in October 2023. Two months later, his cause of death was publicly revealed to be “acute effects of ketamine,” leading fans and followers of the beloved comedic actor to revisit a passage of his memoir in which he discussed his previous experiences using the substance.
The Friends star had been open for many years about struggling with addiction and dove into that deeply personal part of his life in his memoir more than ever before. In a section of the memoir, he wrote specifically about a treatment center that he checked into in 2020.
According to Matthew Perry’s memoir, the staff at this treatment center would use ketamine injections as a treatment for mental health issues, a treatment that has been growing in popularity in recent years.
Matthew Perry spoke on his experience with ketamine
“Ketamine was a very popular street drug in the 1980s. There is a synthetic form of it now, and it’s used for two reasons: to ease pain and help with depression,” Matthew Perry wrote in his memoir about the substance. According to the actor, the drug is something that he would’ve been drawn to while he was actively struggling with his addiction, writing that it has his name “written all over it.”
In the book, he said that the treatment center he was checked into in 2020 included a treatment schedule of injecting the drug each day for an hour-long session.
"I often thought that I was dying during that hour. Oh, I thought, this is what happens when you die. Yet I would continually sign up for this [expletive] because it was something different, and anything different is good."
Even though Matthew Perry spoke fairly positively about the drug in his memoir when he said he would repeatedly return for his daily sessions to experience something “different” and said that it was like being hit with “a happy shovel,” he also said that the feeling after it wore off wasn’t worth it. “Ketamine was not for me,” he wrote in his memoir.
According to his autopsy report, Perry had been once again trying ketamine therapy for his mental health and his death was ruled as accidental. According to the report, other factors in his death included coronary artery disease, something that likely made his central nervous system more susceptible to negative side effects and breathing issues.