The scourge of drugs continues to infest our streets despite the best efforts by law enforcement agencies. Asides from the famous drugs that are now household names such as Cocaine, Ecstasy, and LSD, there is another drug quickly on the rise. This drug is known as Ketamine, and its increasingly illegal use has caused it to be included in the banned substances listings of many countries around the world. While ketamine has been used recreationally since the ‘60s, its use has steadily risen in the ‘90s. But what exactly is ketamine, and how does it affect its users?

Ketamine And Its Uses

Ketamine hydrochloride, or ketamine for short, is a synthetic drug primarily used as a veterinary anesthetic for dogs, cats, and other small household animals. It has also been approved as an anesthetic for humans provided that it’s given in small amounts. It is used to treat pain, especially neuropathic pain. When ketamine is applied to a patient in low doses, it cuts off the nerve paths without affecting breathing as much as other anesthetics. Despite this, ketamine is not the anesthetic of choice for most physicians because of its side effects such as hallucination and increased blood pressure.

However, just like other pharmaceutical drugs, ketamine can be and is abused by many people in the US, the UK, and many other countries worldwide. Ketamine abuse started in the psychedelic ‘60s primarily because its hallucinogenic nature made users believe they were seeing other worlds. In recent years, its illicit use has increased substantially, prompting action by the regulatory boards of many countries.

How Is Ketamine Sold?

Ketamine is sold off the streets in three common forms: as a white powder, colorless liquid, or in pill form. It goes by many street names with the most common being K, Special K, Super K, Vitamin K, and Kit Kat. There have been instances when ketamine was sold as another drug, ecstasy.

How Is It Used, And Who Uses It?

Users can ingest ketamine pills, or dissolve the white powder in water then drink the new solution. The powder form can be smoked together with tobacco and other substances, or inhaled through the nose. The fastest way to experience the side effects would be to inject ketamine into the veins, but this is also the most dangerous.

Most ketamine users are young adults who smoke the drug in parties and clubs or inject it while at home.  

Just How Dangerous Is Ketamine?

Just like most drugs, those who use ketamine regularly will become psychologically dependent on the drug. Long-term side effects of the drug can include lower visual, verbal, and short-term memory. Short-term side effects include hallucination, blurred vision, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and increased breathing rates.  Heavier doses can lead to even worse effects such as vomiting, convulsions, and amnesia. Heavy doses can also paralyze the body, and give the user an experience of floating around outside the body like what is normally associated with the near-death experience. Ketamine users refer to this experience as the ‘K Hole.’

When the user starts hallucinating, there is a distortion of the basic senses, and any act done under this condition can be dangerous. Think of driving under the influence of alcohol except that it’s much worse. The drug can become potentially life-threatening if injected into the veins while alone. This is because the effects come so quickly that the user may lose his senses even before the dose is used up. The user could become paralyzed without anyone nearby to help. Injecting the drug can also lead to infection if the needles aren’t sterilized, or if they’re shared.

If you still don’t believe in the dangers of ketamine, this drug is currently on Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act of the United States and is considered a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971 in the United Kingdom. This means that the drug has the potential to be abused, and the only time the drug can be used is if a licensed physician fills out a prescription. Stay away from this drug, and make sure your friends or children do too.