Ketamine is an anesthetic that is abused for its
hallucinogenic properties. Its predominant
legitimate use is as a veterinary anesthetic;
however, it has been approved for use with both
animals and humans. Abuse of the drug gained
popularity when users discovered that it produced
effects similar to those associated with PCP.
Because of its anesthetic properties, ketamine also
reportedly has been used by sexual predators to
incapacitate their intended victims.
Ketamine generally is sold as either a colorless,
odorless liquid or as a white or off- white powder.
is ketamine abused?
In either its powder or liquid forms, ketamine is
mixed with beverages or added to smokable materials
such as marijuana or tobacco. As a powder the drug
is snorted or pressed into tablets--often in
combination with other drugs such as
3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, also known
as ecstasy). As a liquid, ketamine is injected; it
often is injected intramuscularly.
Who uses ketamine?
Teenagers and young adults represent the majority
of ketamine users. According to the Drug Abuse
Warning Network, individuals aged 12 to 25 accounted
for 74 percent of the ketamine emergency department
mentions in the United States in 2000.
Ketamine use among high school students is a
particular concern. Nearly 3 percent of high school
seniors in the United States used the drug at least
once in the past year, according to the University
of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Survey.
What are the risks?
Ketamine causes users to have distorted
perceptions of sight and sound and to feel
disconnected and out of control. Use of the drug can
impair an individual's senses, judgment, and
coordination for up to 24 hours after the drug is
taken even though the drug's hallucinogenic effects
usually last for only 45 to 90 minutes.
Use of ketamine has been associated with serious
problems--both mental and physical. Ketamine can
cause depression, delirium, amnesia, impaired motor
function, high blood pressure, and potentially fatal
In addition to the risks associated with ketamine
itself, individuals who use the drug may put
themselves at risk of sexual assault. Sexual
predators reportedly have used ketamine to
incapacitate their intended victims--either by
lacing unsuspecting victims' drinks with the drug or
by offering ketamine to victims who consume the drug
without understanding the effects it will produce.
What is ketamine called?
The most common names for ketamine are K, special
K, cat valium, and vitamin K. Street terms for
Special la coke
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