He nearly died after overdosing during a 2015 stay at the Love Ranch in Las Vegas. Six years later, Lamar Odom, 41, is healthy and happy. And he’s crediting his continued sobriety to drug therapy. The NBA star told Good Morning America that he’s been taking small doses of the synthetic drug ketamine under medical supervision for the past two years.
— LAMAR ODOM (@RealLamarOdom) May 17, 2021
“I went to rehab and did some other things, but ketamine came into my life at the right time,” Lamar told Steve Osunsami on the May 17 broadcast. “I’m feeling amazing. I’m alive. I’m sober. I’m happy.” Lamar said he experiences a “healthy high,” and the therapy has helped him fight the urge to use drugs like cocaine.
While ketamine may now be better known as a club drug, abused for its hallucinogenic properties, the synthetic drug has been used as a rapid-acting acting anesthetic since 1971. Doctors have since discovered that, in small doses, ketamine can also treat certain mental health disorders, like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction. It should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.
It has been particularly helpful for Lamar, who has spoken extensively in the past about his struggles with drug addiction, which began at 12 years old. Things came to a head in 2015 when he was found unresponsive at the Love Ranch, a Las Vegas brothel. Lamar had overdosed on drugs including cocaine and suffered 12 seizures and six strokes. His heart stopped twice and he was in a coma. It was feared that he wouldn’t regain his ability to speak or walk, but he miraculously made a full recovery.
It wasn’t smooth sailing from there, though. Lamar said in 2019 interview with PEOPLE that he was still experiencing “horrible memory loss,” and that “athletically, my balance is poo. I was shocked how weak my body became.” But he’s continuing to improve — that same year, he even competed on Dancing With The Stars season 28.
Lamar stated on GMA that he’s going to continue with ketamine therapy for the foreseeable future. “I don’t wake up looking to do lines… or waking up in a dark place or feeling unfulfilled,” the former LA Lakers star said. “When Kobe [Bryant] passed away, you know, the old Lamar, that’d have been every excuse in the world for me to go get high, [but] doing drugs didn’t even enter my mind.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.