Ketamine Addiction Leaves British 'Big Brother' Winner Pete Bennett Homeless

By John Lavitt 07/14/15

The reality show star began taking the anesthetic to deal with Tourette's syndrome.

Pete Bennett
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The former winner of the UK's Big Brother who became a popular face on BattleCam, reality show star Pete Bennett is now homeless due to an addiction to ketamine.

Despite being given £100,000 of prize money and releasing a successful autobiography, Bennett is now broke and living off the charity of friends. On The Jeremy Kyle Show, he revealed how he ended up in this dire situation.

Bennett, 33, suffers from Tourette’s syndrome, and the condition often makes him twitch and swear involuntarily. His medical condition often causes him to shout the word "wankers" out loud, and the ensuing hilarity made him a popular character. On BattleCam, he entertained fellow players, using the moniker Perfect Pete. Still, the star claims that when he was younger, he had one of the worst cases of the condition in Europe.

In an attempt to deal with his Tourette’s, Bennett began taking ketamine. A dissociative anesthetic, ketamine can cause dream-like states with user-reported sensations ranging from a pleasant feeling of floating to being separated from their bodies. Developed in 1963 to replace PCP, the drug is currently used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine.

Bennett claims to have begun the battle with ketamine addiction after suffering a string of bereavements. 

“When I went to get proper help for my addiction, this drug worker started to ask me about loss and I talked to him about all the friends I’d had who’d died. I was dealing with it by taking ketamine," he told host Jeremy Kyle. "I couldn’t go out without doing it. It became a habit and I did it every day.”

Bennett is attempting to make his name as an actor, seriously considering a move to Hollywood. While he was clean for a while, he has since relapsed, however, but claims to be back on track and committed to long-term recovery.

"I took ketamine again and I relapsed but I hated it, I didn’t like being disassociated," he said. "I like being here now and being able to chat to people. I'm living my life now the best I can. I'm not Perfect Pete anymore, I’m just Pete.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.