What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic. Ketamine distorts your perception of sight and sound. It also causes you to feel detached from the environment around you and even from yourself. Ketamine’s chemical properties include stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and analgesics.
It works by blocking the mind from receiving sensory input.
Street names for Ketamine include: Special K, Cat Valium, Jet, Super Acid, Green, Super C, K, Kit Kat, Super K, Vitamin K
What is Ketamine Used For?
Ketamine is used as an anesthesia in humans during minor medical and dental procedures, tests, or surgeries to prevent discomfort and pain and in some cases to induce unconsciousness.
Ketamine is most commonly used in veterinary medicine because of the hallucinogenic effects it can have on humans. Ketamine is widely used on animals including pigs, cats, frogs, and chimpanzees.
The World Health Organization has included the drug on its List of Essential Medicines.
What Does Ketamine Look Like and How Is It Administered?
Ketamine can be found in several different forms. It is generally manufactured as an injectable liquid. It can also be found in powder form. The liquid form is given by medical professionals as an intramuscular injection or through an intravenous infusion.
The powdered form of the drug can be swallowed or put into a drink and swallowed. The drug is odorless and tasteless. When put into a drink, the person drinking it will not be able to detect the drug in the liquid.
What are Ketamine Side Effects?
Ketamine causes a wide range of sensations among users, side effects can range from minimal to severe. Serious side effects should immediately be reported to a physician, are:
- Severe confusion
- Extreme Fear
- Extreme sensory detachment
Less Serious side effects commonly experienced:
- Dream like feeling
- Double vision/impaired vision
- Jerky movements
- Trouble sleeping
- Pleasant sensation of floating
- Memory loss
- Disruption of learning abilities
- Impair focus/judgment
In higher doses, the drug can create a sense of delirium, amnesia, total loss or impairment of motor function, high blood pressure and in extreme cases fatal respiratory problems.
Ketmine can be harmful to unborn babies, so expectant mothers should not be given the drug.
After having Ketamine, you may feel confused and your thinking and reactions may be impaired for 24 hours of more. Avoid driving or making any decisions until the effects of the medication have completely worn off.
This medication works quickly, however the rapidness and duration of the effects vary depending on the dose given and whether it is given as an injection, infusion, snorted, or swallowed.
Even when used medically, Ketamine and other medications in the same class can be an extremely risky medication to administer. If not given properly and carefully supervised, these drugs can easily cause a fatal reaction in patients or recreational users. The public was given a sobering reminder of just how dangerous this class of medicine can be when Michael Jackson suddenly died from an overdose of Propofol.
Propofol is an anesthetic in the same class as Ketamine and it is used by anesthesiologists to induce a loss of consciousness in the patient. Reports surfaced that Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, had been giving the singer doses of Propofol every night in order to help him sleep. The night that the King of Pop died of acute propofol intoxication, Murray had administered a larger dose than normal and then left Jackson alone for the night. Since Jackson was not being monitored, emergency life saving measures couldn’t be taken when the large dose of the drug began to suppress his breathing and lowered his blood pressure.
Like propofol, Ketamine can cause serious respiratory issues in anyone who takes the medication.
The long term effects of taking Ketamine are still being studied, but new information shows that it can damage the bladder and cause ulcers and fibrosis, resulting in pelvic pain and blood in the urine.
The History of Ketamine
Ketamine was originally synthesized as a means to replace LSD and PCP because those drugs were deemed too dangerous because of the often severe hallucinogenic effects it produced.
Calvin Stevens, an American scientist who worked at Parke Davis Laboratories, created the drug in 1962. It was patented in Belgium in 1963 and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for human use in 1970. The drug was then used as a field anesthetic to treat soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War.
Currently, Ketamine is becoming more popular around the world. A kilo of the drug can reach over $21,000 in value on the international market. In Hong Kong, the number of people using the drug has doubled since 2004. Ketamine has surpassed ecstasy as the most popular recreational drug.
The United States passed a law in 1999 making illicit Kentamine illegal.
Ketamine as a Recreational Drug
Like many of Ketamine’s medicinal equivalents, the medically useful drug has found its way to the streets and into the hands of drug dealers and users in search of recreational drugs. This drug is not often sold through the same channels as other drugs including marijuana and cocaine. Ketamine is usually distributed among friends and acquaintances at clubs, parties, and raves. Often the “club drug” Ketamine has been stolen from veterinary clinics or diverted from being delivered to veterinary clinics.
. Special K, as it is often referred to by casual users, works quickly, usually within 30 seconds to a few minutes of ingesting the drug and typically lasts for 30-60 minutes, which is far less than other drugs like LSD or PCP which generate similar effects.
The effects of Ketamine are greatly affected by the user’s state of mind, mood, and even the environment they are in. The same person may experience a pleasant trip when using the drug one time and then experience a horrible trip another time if they are in a different location and an agitated or depressed mood.
Recreational users usually snort small lines called “bumps” to get the mild effect of dreaminess and floating. When people take high doses, they experience a hallucinogenic effect. The user may feel as if they are far outside their body. This is referred to as a K-hole. K-hole’s vary from person to person and can be extremely enjoyable for one person and terrifying for another. Some have explained the sensation as a near-death experience. K-hole’s usually inhibit your ability to move, so most people are either seated or laying down when entering a K-hole.
Sexual Assault and Ketamine:
Ketamine/Special K has become infamous as a “date-rape drug” because of its ability to either incapacitate or render potential victims unconscious and therefore unable to fend off unwanted advances.
Predators use the powdered form of the drug and pour it into the drink of their intended victim. After the victim drinks their spiked drink, the predator can then take advantage of the victim due to their altered state. Since the drug is odorless and tasteless, odds are that the victim will not realize that they have consumed a drug. They may begin to realize that something is wrong as the medication takes effect, but they may not be able to do anything about it before the predator gets to them. Being drugged can often closely resemble the effects of having several alcoholic drinks, so
Symptoms of Being Drugged:
- Sudden feeling of excessive drowsiness
- Blurred vision
- Feeling nauseated
- Heart is racing
- Feeling of extreme thirst
- Feeling as if you are in a dream
- Sudden change in mood
- Feeling numb
- Loss of coordination
If You suspects that You have Been Slipped a Drug:
- Tell someone immediately
- Get to a safe place
- Find someone they trust to make stay with them
- Call the police
- Seek immediate medical treatment at a hospital
- Do not bathe, douche or clean up in anyway if a sexual assault is suspected, ask the hospital to perform a special examination to determine if an assault happened and to collect DNA evidence
- Do not leave the location with a stranger
- Do not attempt to drive
Tips to Avoid Being Drugged:
- Nominate a designated driver to stay sober and keep an eye on your group
- Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know
- If you accept a drink, choose something that comes in a closed container
- Never leave your drink unattended
- Avoid drinks that are shared, for example anything served in a bowl, jug, flask, etc.
- Leave valuables at home
- If your drink tastes funny or different from earlier, stop drinking it immediately
- Avoid taking recreational drugs or prescription medications you don’t normally take
- Stay with your group of friends, try not to get separated
Ketamine is used on both me and women, and is also used for other criminal purposes, including robbery and physical assault.
Abuse of Ketamine:
Since many people experience pleasurable feelings when taking Ketamine it has a high potential for abuse. Additionally, you can build up a tolerance, meaning that you would need to take increasingly larger doses in order to attain the same ketamine effect you initially felt. The dissociative nature of the drug is very appealing to some users, making it highly addictive.
If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse or dependence, the chances are higher that you could become addicted to Ketamine.
While Ketamine is legal for use in hospitals as an anesthesia, it is considered an illegal substance when used outside of a hospital setting. Possession of Special K can result in arrest and potentially lengthy prison sentences.
Using Ketamine to Treat Depression:
The drug is being explored as a treatment option for patients with bipolar depression and major depressive disorders as well as people who are admitted to emergency rooms during a suicidal crisis. So far clinical tests have shown that when the drug is given to patients by infusion at low doses, it works rapidly and provides a substantial reduction in symptoms within two hours that lasts for approximately one to two weeks.
The uses and effects of Ketamine are still evolving, and anyone considering using the drug should make themselves fully aware of the risks.