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Club Drugs: Ketamine

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Club Drugs: Ketamine

The use of Ketamine is increasing among teenagers and young adults throughout the United States. Ketamine is considered to be one of the predatory drugs, because it can be slipped into a person's drink to render him or her unconscious and unable to fend off sexual assault.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride) is a central nervous system depressant that reduces pain perception and causes sedation. It was developed in the 1970s as a medical anesthetic for both humans and animals. Ketamine is often mistaken for cocaine or crystal methamphetamine because of a similarity in appearance. Also known as K, Special K, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, Keller, Super Acid, and Super C, Ketamine can be in tablet, powder, or liquid form.

Ketamine is so powerful that, when injected, there is a risk of losing motor control before the injection is completed. In powder form, the drug can be snorted or sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana and smoked. The effects of Ketamine last from one to six hours. It is usually 24-48 hours before the user feels completely "normal" again.

What Are the Effects of Ketamine?

Psychedelic effects are produced quickly by low doses (25-100 mg) of Ketamine. Higher doses (1 gram or more) can cause convulsions and death. As with most anesthetics, eating or drinking before taking Ketamine can cause vomiting. Other reported effects include the following:

Physical Effects

  • Slurred speech
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Respiratory distress
  • Paralysis
  • Heart rate abnormalities (increasing the risk of ]]>heart attack]]> or ]]>stroke]]> ), ]]>coma]]> , and death

Psychologic Effects

Ketamine distorts a person's perceptions of many things, such as pain, one's body, time, and the environment. These distortions lead to a scattered feeling or to a feeling of detachment from the world. Other psychologic effects include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Dreamlike states
  • Feelings of invulnerability
  • Psychologic near-death experiences
  • Paranoia and paranoid delusions
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Impaired memory


Club Drugs.org

Partnership for a Drug-Free America

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

National Institute on Drug Abuse


Club drugs. Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Available at: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/club/index.html
Accessed September 19, 2003.

Ketamine. In: The Merck Manual – Second Home Edition .
Available at: http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual_home2/sec07/
Accessed September 19, 2003.

Last reviewed September 2003 by ]]>Richard Glickman-Simon, MD]]>

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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