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Substance Abuse - Ketamine

Commonly Known As: Special K, K, Ket, Ketamine, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, Cat Valium, Super C. The experience is often referred to as K-hole, K-land, tripping, or baby food.

Access to Drug: Ketamine is only available to Physicians and Veterinarians and can be bought from anyone who has connections with someone who has access to medical supplies. Ketamine is often distributed at parties and raves. It is marketed commercially as Ketalar or Ketaset but because it is a Schedule III , Ketamine is illegal to possess without a license or prescription.

Scientific Name: Ketamine Hydrochloride. It is similar in molecular structure to PCP (phencyclidine). It is a non-barbiturate, rapid acting, disassociative anesthetic.

Interesting Facts: Ketamine was initially synthesized in 1962 as an alternative to PCP as an anethestic because of it’s lower suppression rate of breathing. By the late 70’s, recreational users had become interested in the drug due to reports of visions while under the influence; by 1995, the DEA added Ketamine to its list of club drugs stemming from abuse.

Methods of Use: Ketamine is a liquid that comes in small pharmaceutical bottles. It is injected intramuscularly, cooked into a white powder and snorted/smoked, packed into gel caps or pill form and swallowed, or mixed into drinks. Legally, Ketamine is used primarily by veterinarians and also for pediatric burn cases, some dentistry, and has been used in experimental psychotherapy. It is rarely used in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

Common Effects When Intoxicated: Effects range from mild dreamy states at low doses, stumbling, clumsy robotic movements, delayed or reduced sensations, vertigo and increased sociability. Higher doses produce nausea, extreme difficulty moving, numbness in the extremities, feelings of disassociation from the body, and black outs. There is slurred or blocked speech and an exaggerated sense of strength. Some users have reported near death experiences and/or compelling out of body visions.

Duration of Intoxication: Intoxication develops within minutes if injected and up to 20 minutes if swallowed. It lasts for approximately one to three hours with lingering sensations of feeling light, and nauseous for up to six hours.

Withdrawal: Withdrawal is similar to a hangover with a headache, some nausea and fatigue. The withdrawal lasts about a day.

Effects of Long Term Use: Long term effects include brain damage, disruptions in consciousness, paranoia, and other mental disorders. The effects of chronic use of Ketamine may take several months to two years to wear off completely. Flashbacks have been reported for as long as a year after use.

Abuse, Dependence, and Addiction: Ketamine is highly addictive, both psychologically and physically. Because the body develops tolerance, more of the drug is required to achieve the same effects. It is not uncommon for users to dose more than once a day.

Associated Risks: People under the influence of Ketamine are impervious to pain, including injuries sustained by rough activities which can cause injury/death to themselves or others. Large doses can produce vomiting and convulsions and may lead to oxygen starvation to the brain and muscles.