It is used by medical practitioners and veterinarians as an anaesthetic. It is sometimes used illegally by people to get high.
It can produce psychedelic effects, causing a person to see, hear, smell, feel or taste things that aren’t really there or are different from how they are in reality.
When it’s sold illegally, it usually comes as a white crystalline powder. It can also be made into tablets and pills, or dissolved in a liquid.
A number of clinical trials and studies are currently being undertaken to assess ketamine as a treatment for depression, early indications are showing good results.
Special K, K, ket, kitkat, super k, horse tranquilliser or horse trank.
How is it used?
It can be swallowed, snorted or injected. It is also sometimes smoked with cannabis or tobacco. The effects of it may be experienced within 30 seconds if injected, 5–10 minutes if snorted, and up to 20 minutes if swallowed. The effects of the drug can last for approximately 45 to 90 minutes.
Effects of ketamine
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Ketamine affects everyone differently, based on:
size, weight and health
whether the person is used to taking it
whether other drugs are taken around the same time
the amount taken
the strength of the drug (varies from batch to batch).
The following effects may be experienced:
feeling happy and relaxed
feeling detached from your body (‘falling into a k-hole’)
confusion and clumsiness
increased heart rate and blood pressure
slurred speech and blurred vision
anxiety, panic and violence
lowered sensitivity to pain.
If you take a large amount or have a strong batch, you could overdose. Call an ambulance straight away by dialing triple zero (000) if you have any of these symptoms (ambulance officers don’t need to involve the police):
inability to move, rigid muscles
high body temperature, fast heartbeat
coma and ‘near death’ experiences
In the day following ketamine use, you may be experience:
impaired judgement, disorientation
aches and pains
Regular use of ketamine may eventually cause:
poor sense of smell (from snorting)
mood and personality changes, depression
poor memory, thinking and concentration
ketamine bladder syndrome (see below)
needing to use more to get the same effect
dependence on ketamine
financial, work and social problems.
Ketamine bladder syndrome
Large, repeated doses of the drug may eventually cause ‘ketamine bladder syndrome’, a painful condition needing ongoing treatment. Symptoms include difficulty holding in urine, incontinence, which can cause ulceration in the bladder. Anyone suffering from ketamine bladder syndrome needs to stop using it and see a health professional.
Using ketamine with other drugs
The effects of taking ketamine with other drugs– including over-the-counter or prescribed medications – can be unpredictable and dangerous, and could cause:
Ketamine +alcoholoropiates: lack of awareness of effects of the depressant drugs, which may lead to taking too much and vomiting, slowed breathing, coma and death.
Ketamine +amphetamines,ecstasyandcocaine: enormous strain on the body, which can lead to fast heart rate.
Giving up the drug after using it for a long time is challenging because the body has to get used to functioning without it. Withdrawal symptoms usually last for 4-6 days. These symptoms can include: