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Matthew Perry’s death brings ketamine into the spotlight.

Plus: Recipes to boost your mood during these short, dark days!

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"Change your thoughts and you change your world."

Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday. Book your trip now for 2024. The restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral is getting closer and closer to completion as a new golden rooster was placed on the spire. The cathedral is slated to reopen in about a year following a devastating fire. 

In more sobering news, the tragic death of Matthew Perry has put ketamine back in the spotlight, and it’s not exactly good news. Let’s dive in.

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The Pros And Cons Of Ketamine 

In October, the entertainment world was shocked by the tragic passing of Matthew Perry, best known for his role as Chandler in the popular TV show "Friends." The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's office recently ruled his death as an accidental drowning, with "the acute effects of ketamine" being a contributing factor

Perry, 54, had a long history of addiction and had openly discussed using ketamine as part of his treatment for depression and anxiety in his memoir.

Ketamine, initially developed in the 1970s as an anesthetic, gained popularity in the 1990s as a recreational drug due to its hallucinogenic effects. Known as "Special K" in party circles, its use raised concerns about its potential for abuse. In 1999, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classified ketamine as a Schedule III nonnarcotic substance. This label meant the drug has a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. However, in 2006, the use of ketamine took a significant turn when researchers at the National Institutes of Health discovered its rapid effects in alleviating severe depression.

This breakthrough led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving a nasal spray called esketamine, derived from ketamine, for treatment-resistant depression in 2019. The drug showed plenty of promise early on but didn’t come without its risks. Esketamine must be administered under medical supervision in a clinical setting due to the precise dosage requirements and potential risks associated with its use.

Perry's autopsy report noted that the ketamine in his system likely did not come from his last medically supervised therapy session, which occurred about a week and a half before his death. It is likely that Perry had access to ketamine outside a clinical setting, and this contributed to the tragic drowning at his home. 

This raises some red flags about the use of ketamine outside of a controlled environment. During the pandemic, the rise of online prescriptions and home delivery of ketamine added to these worries. While overdoses on ketamine are relatively rare, its potential to induce unconsciousness at high doses without supervision can lead to accidental fatalities, like drowning. 

There is a lot of interest and excitement about using psychedelics for mental health treatment, but could it be that we are moving a little too fast? 

The space has attracted significant investment in startups exploring this avenue. You also have high-profile figures like Elon Musk, who have reportedly experimented with psychedelics such as LSD and ketamine for their mind-expanding properties. For a while, it felt like psychedelic use was all pros and hardly any cons. 

However, Perry's death serves as a stark reminder of the need for caution and proper medical oversight when using these substances. Some experts have gone as far as calling Perry’s death a wake-up call to ensure ketamine is used appropriately and safely.

The key takeaway? While ketamine has shown promise as a treatment for mental health issues, its journey from anesthetic to a party drug and now a potential mental health aid underscores the complexities surrounding its use. There will never be a simple, magic solution to our most vexing health problems. Whether it is psychedelics or more traditional pharmaceuticals, we need to approach these drugs with caution and make sure we are genuinely solving a problem without creating any new ones. 

Tonic Shots

1. A Warm Side Dish Full Of Fiber!

This eggplant dish has it all—fiber, flavor, veggies. It’s the perfect side dish for a comforting warm dinner on these short, cold days!

2. You Can’t Beat Chili For A Cold Day!

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3. Yum! Beans!

This bean soup is guaranteed to be a crowd favorite! Enjoy.

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