Ketamine

Vitamin K, Super K, Special K, K, Green, Donkey Dust
questionmarkWhat is ketamine?

It’s a powerful general anaesthetic which stops you feeling pain and it’s used for operations on humans and animals. The effects don’t last long, but until they wear off, ketamine can cause a loss of feeling in the body and paralysis of the muscles. It can also lead to you experiencing a distortion of reality.

Ketamine can:
  • Reduce sensations in the body, giving you a floating or detached feeling as if the mind and body have been separated, with some people feeling incapable of moving. This has been linked to having a near-death experience and is sometimes called "entering the k-hole".
  • Change how you see and hear things and can cause hallucinations. You can 'trip' for between half and hour to several hours, and after-effects may be felt for some hours afterwards.
  • Cause confusion, agitation, panic attacks, and impairment in short and long term memory. Frequent use is sometimes associated with the development of depression.
  • Cause very serious bladder problems in regular users. They can have problems peeing and when they do it can be very painful. Sometimes the damage is so bad that the bladder has to be removed by surgery. The urinary tract, from the kidneys down to the bladder, can also be badly affected.
What does ketamine look like?

When used as a medical anaesthetic, ketamine is a liquid, because this makes it easy to inject.

  • ‘Street’ ketamine is normally a grainy, white powder – although sometimes it can come as tablets.
  • On average, a gram of ketamine in powder form costs £20–40.
How is ketamine taken?

There are a number of ways of taking ketamine:

  • Some people swallow it in tablet form.
  • Most people snort ketamine, like cocaine or speed.
  • If it is liquid, it can be injected.

No method is safe, but injecting is very risky. Injecting any drug and sharing injecting equipment runs the risk of spreading a virus, such as HIV or hepatitis C. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged, which can lead to infections and/or gangrene (death of body tissue) which can result in you losing a finger, toe or a limb.

What are the effects of ketamine?

It’s a general anaesthetic that can produce ‘floaty’ feelings, as if the mind and body have been separated. Other effects include:

  • It can make you feel very chilled out and relaxed.
  • It can make you physically incapable of moving. You can feel completely detached from your body and surroundings, which has been compared to having a near-death experience, sometimes called “entering the k-hole”. For some people this is an enjoyable effect.
  • Like LSD, ketamine can alter perception of time and space and can cause hallucinations. It can lead to good or bad ‘trips’ that can last from half an hour or so to several hours, with after-effects that may be felt for some hours.
What are the health risks of ketamine?

Ketamine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. It can make you confused, agitated, delirious and disconnected from reality. It can make you feel sick, and it can cause damage to your short and long term memory. Other risks include:

  • exclamationmarkBecause of the body’s loss of feelings, paralysis of the muscles and the mind’s loss of touch with reality, you can be left vulnerable to hurting yourself or being hurt by others.
  • Because you don't feel pain properly when you've recently taken ketamine, you can injure yourself badly and not know you've done it.
  • Ketamine can cause very serious bladder problems, with the urgent and frequen need to pee. This can be very painful and often pee can be blood-stained and can contain tissue from the wall of the bladder. Although stopping using ketamine can help, sometimes the damage can be so serious that the bladder needs to be removed by surgery. The urinary tract, from the kidneys down to the bladder, can also be badly affected and incontinence (uncontrolled peeing) may also develop.
  • Some users have been known to take higher doses as a way to control the bladder pain caused by ketamine, which in turn increases the risk of bladder damage and pain.
  • Abdominal pain or ‘K cramps’ have been reported by many long-term users.
  • Evidence of liver damage due to regular, heavy ketamine use is emerging. The liver has a range of important functions, such as cleaning your blood and removing toxic substances.
  • It can make you physically incapable of moving. You can feel completely detached from your body and surroundings, which has been compared to having a near-death experience. This is sometimes called “entering the k-hole”.
  • Injecting ketamine can damage the veins and can cause serious problems such as abscesses (swollen areas of tissue that are full of pus) and blood clots. Sharing injecting equipment, including needles and syringes, risks infection with hepatitis C and B viruses and HIV.
Mixing ketamine with alcohol and other drugs
  • High doses, especially when taken with other substances like alcohol, benzodizepines or opiates, can dangerously affect the way you breathe and how your heart works. It can lead to unconsciousness and this could mean you choke on your own vomit.
  • If high doses are taken and mixed with other drugs it can cause death.
  • Ketamine can also be very dangerous when mixed with ecstasy or amphetamines as it causes high blood pressure.
What is ketamine cut with?
  • Users won’t know whether any ketamine they get through a dealer, even a friend, is definitely ketamine or whether it has been contaminated (or ‘cut’) with any other substances.
  • There have been reports of ketamine being cut with the ‘legal high’ MXE while some people have been sold ketamine which is really MXE. MXE is chemically related to ‘dissociative anaesthetics’ like ketamine and has similar effects. But it is much stronger than ketamine and extra care is needed to avoid overdosing. Only medicinal ketamine would be reliably pure.
Can you get addicted to ketamine?
  • The simple answer is – yes – you can become addicted to it. This means dependent users feel the need to keep taking ketamine, even in spite of the effects on their health. Some users will attend drug treatment services to help them stop.
  • Regular users can also develop tolerance to ketamine, which means they need to take increasing amounts to get the same effects.
  • There are no physical withdrawal symptoms, so ketamine addiction is sometimes called a ‘psychological dependence’. Dependence is just another name for addiction.

On Tuesday 10 June 2014 ketamine changed from a class C to a class B controlled drug. This means that possession of ketamine could now get you up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine, while supplying ketamine to someone else could get you up to 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine.

lawiconKetamine and the law
  • Ketamine is a Class B drug which means that it's illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
  • Possession can get you up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you 14 years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
What if you’re caught?

If the Police catch arrest you with in possession of ketamine, they’ll always take some action. This could be a formal caution, or arrest and possible conviction.

A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a serious impact. It can could make it harder, even impossible, stop you to visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

 

lightbulbDid you know?
  • Like drinking and driving, driving when high is illegal - and you can still be unfit to drive the day after using ketamine. You can get a heavy fine, be disqualified from driving or even go to prison.
  • Allowing other people to supply drugs in your house or any other premises is illegal. If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a club they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any person concerned in the management of the premises.

Drugs & Alcohol


Legal Highs

Legal Highs’ are substances which produce the same, or similar effects, to drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

They are considered illegal to sell, supply or advertise for “human consumption” under current medicines legislation. To get round this sellers will refer to them as research chemicals, plant food, bath crystals or pond cleaner.

There are a large number of legal highs, but here are a few key facts:

  • Just because a drug is legal to possess, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.
  • It is becoming increasingly clear that ‘legal highs’ are far from harmless and can have similar health risks to drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and speed.
  • Risks of ‘legal highs’ can include reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures, and death.
  • These risks are increased if used with alcohol or other drugs.
  • It is likely that drugs sold as a ‘legal high’ may actually contain one or more substances that are actually illegal to possess. What you may think is a legal high that you can’t get in trouble for having, could be something completely different, and in fact a class B drug.

Worried About Someone?

Not all drugs are addictive, and everybody that uses drugs doesn’t become dependent. When drug use becomes problematic it can lead to addiction and signs this has happen can include:

  • The need for regular use.
  • Constantly have drugs in their possession.
  • Strange and ‘out of character’ behavior
  • Mood Swings
  • Physical changes like Weight loss
  • Sometimes people don’t recognise their drug use has become a problem. They refuse to believe that they are addicted or dependent. If you think you think a friend has a problem and you want to help them, think about how you're going to approach it and what you’re going to say?

    It could be a sensitive subject for them and you don’t what to looking like you’re getting. They may not listen to you at first but don’t let this put you off. The best thing that you can do is to be there for them, to support and encourage them to change. You can also help by keeping your friend away from situations that can trigger or expose them to drug use.

    Some people are able to overcome their issues with drugs before any serious harm has been done to them, or their family and friends. Other users have to hit rock bottom before they can see the harm and damage they are doing and start addressing their drug use.