Medicine: Matthew Perry died after taking ketamine. Why the narcotic is so dangerous

His death shocked the film industry and his fans: actor Mathew Perry died in his hot tub at the end of October.

Medicine: Matthew Perry died after taking ketamine. Why the narcotic is so dangerous

His death shocked the film industry and his fans: actor Mathew Perry died in his hot tub at the end of October. Now it's clear: It was an accident under the influence of drugs. The Los Angeles coroner's office confirmed that the actor died from "acute effects of ketamine." Added to this were, among other things, drowning, heart disease and the effects of a drug used to treat opioid addiction, according to a report published on Friday.

The anesthetic ketamine was discovered in the 1960s, and the Parke-Davis company secured a patent for the anesthetic in 1966, which is used in both human and veterinary medicine. It was used during the Vietnam War to relieve pain from injuries and was officially approved as a medicine in 1970. From the 1970s onwards, ketamine became increasingly popular as a street drug.

Ketamine is now used primarily as a painkiller, because as an anesthetic it can cause hallucinations with a pronounced variety of shapes and colors in the "post-anesthesia phase, which can be associated with feelings of ego delimitation and ego dissolution," writes the " Medical Journal". As a medicine, ketamine is available as a liquid solution. On the black market as a party drug, which is also known in the scene under the names "Special K", "Kate" or "Vitamin K", often as a white powder that is snorted.

The medicine, which was originally intended to switch off consciousness, is now also abused as a drug for out-of-body experiences and even near-death experiences. According to "Ärzteblatt", these should have the following effect: "Detachment from the body, walking through a tunnel, perceiving a light source, entering the light, feeling deep peace." But in these hallucinating states, ketamine-related respiratory arrest could occur and thus death. The duration of effect is usually between 15 minutes and two hours. Ketamine can be psychologically addictive.

The physician Dr. Tobias Weigl provides comprehensive information about the substance Ketmain in a YouTube format and also warns about the risks of misusing Ketamine as a drug. He advises to be particularly careful with the so-called "K-hole": "Here, the consumer experiences a complete detachment from the environment for about half an hour and cramps, muscle twitching and insecurities in movement can occur."

Regular consumption of this drug also carries the risk of brain and memory damage, damage to the kidneys and the urinary tract, and even incontinence. According to the “Techniker” health insurance company, other side effects include: “Increased blood pressure and pulse, confusion, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, delusional ideas.”

Sources: Technician, Ärzteblatt

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