Nolte: No Fentanyl or Meth Detected in Matthew Perry’s System — Report

Initial tests show there was no fentanyl or meth in actor Matthew Perry’s system at the time of his death, reports the celebrity gossip site TMZ:

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ investigators ran a less-in-depth test on Perry which revealed he did not have fentanyl or meth in his system. However, it’s important to note, more in-depth tests are still being conducted as part of toxicology to analyze whether any other illegal drugs present in his blood — and if the levels of any prescription meds were at harmful doses.

Those results will likely take anywhere from 4-6 months to be returned, and once all that data is gathered, the coroner will determine the cause and manner of death.

This early substance report tracks with Perry’s claim that after decades of substance abuse, he had become sober again.

As we all now know, according to initial reporting, the 54-year-old actor was found dead under the water in his hot tub by an employee. Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Perry’s death comes just one year after his best-selling memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing detailed his 65 — 65! — trips to rehab and an addiction that had him swallowing dozens of Vicodin pills a day washed down with a quart of vodka. Perry said he was so out of it that he does not remember filming three seasons of Friends, the eponymous sitcom that made him a wealthy superstar.

File/Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer  in March, 1995. (Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

His addiction was so out of control that even after he became famous, he says he would look up open houses and raid their medicine cabinets. No one would believe Chandler Bing would steal prescriptions, he said.

One of my favorite Perry quotes came from an interview he did while promoting the book (which is back on the bestseller list)… Already fighting an alcohol problem before he became famous, Perry said it was to numb his personal pain, so he said a prayer

“That prayer was, ‘Please, God, make me famous. You can do anything you want to me; just make me famous. Three weeks later, I got Friends — and God did not forget about the second part.”

THERE FOR YOU! Crowds Leave Flowers Outside “Friends Apartment” After Matthew Perry’s Death

Anna Thorsell via Storyful

Last year, Perry told HBO host Bill Maher that a higher power helped him through recovery. I sure hope that power was Christ. I surely do.

Reading about Perry’s demons tells you what a great actor he was. It’s impossible to reconcile his iconic Friends character, Chandler Bing, with Matthew Perry. Chandler was a bit of a neurotic, but you always believed his sense of humor would get him through anything. His self-aware humor was his shield and crutch, not drugs and alcohol.

The saddest fact about Perry is that he died at 54 without ever having been married, and he had no children. Apparently, other than assistants, he lived all alone in his Pacific Palisades home, the one with the hot tub he died in. He enjoyed some high-profile but short-lived romances at the height of his fame, including one with Julia Roberts, but he seems like a tragically lonely man.

Another tragedy is that no amount of sobriety can reverse what decades of abuse do to the human body. In his memoir, he detailed how close he came to death when opioid abuse ruptured his colon. Perry’s family was told he had a two-percent chance of survival.

FRIENDS — Pictured: (l-r) Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matt Le Blanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay in ‘Friends’, circa 1995. ( NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty)

It wouldn’t surprise me if Perry were perfectly sober, but his previously abused heart gave out on him.

Facts on the ground change fast, but Perry seemed like a good guy, someone who focused his demons on himself instead of others. That says a lot about him. It’s still so awful, and it’s okay to mourn a celebrity.

Matthew Perry is part of the fabric of our lives. For ten seasons, he made us laugh and forget our troubles. That’s not nothing. What’s also nothing is what having it all did for Matthew Perry. Fame, looks, riches, talent… It all adds up to nothing if you can’t find some self-possession over your own life.

John Nolte’s debut novel Borrowed Time (Bombardier Books) is available today. You can read an exclusive excerpt here and a review of the novel here.  


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