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Ketamine Use Disorder

What is Ketamine?

Overview: Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has some hallucinogenic effects. It distorts perceptions of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. It is an injectable, short-acting anesthetic for use in humans and animals. It is referred to as a "dissociative anesthetic" because it makes patients feel detached from their pain and environment. Ketamine can induce a state of sedation (feeling calm and relaxed), immobility, relief from pain, and amnesia (no memory of events while under the influence of the drug). It is abused for its ability to produce dissociative sensations and hallucinations. Ketamine has also been used to facilitate sexual assault.


Street Names: Cat Tranquilizer, Cat Valium, Jet, Jet K, K, Kit Kat, Purple, Special K, Special La Coke, Super Acid, Super K, Vitamin K


Looks Like: Ketamine comes in a clear liquid and a white or off-white powder, Powdered ketamine (100 milligrams to 200 milligrams) typically is packaged in small glass vials, small plastic bags, and capsules as well as paper, glassine, or aluminum foil folds.


Methods of Abuse: Ketamine, along with other "club drugs," has become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and "raves." Ketamine is manufactured commerciall as a powder or liquid. Powdered ketamine is also formed from pharmaceutical ketamine by evaporating the liquid using hot plates, warming trays, or microwave ovens, a process that results from theformation of crystals, which are then ground into powder. Powdered ketamine is cut into lines known as bumps and snorted, or it is smokd, typically in marijuana or tobacco cigarettes. Liquid ketamine is injected or mixed into drinks. Ketamine is found by itself or often in combination with MDMA, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine.


Affect on Mind: Ketamine produces hallucinations It distorts perceptions of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. A "Special K" trip is touted as better than that of LSD or PCP because its halluncinatory effects are relatively short in duration, lsating approxinately 30 to 60 minutes as opposed to several hours. Slang for experiences related to Ketamine or effects of Ketamine include: "K-land" (refers to a mellow and colorful experience), "K-hole" (refers to the out-of-body, near death experience), "Baby food" (users sink into blissful, infantile inertia), and "God" (users are convinced they have met their maker). The onset of effects is rapid and often occurs within a few minutes of taking the drug, though taking it orally results in a slightly sloweer onset of effets. Flashbacks have been reported several weeks after ketamine is used. Ketamine may also cause agitation, depression, cognitve difficulties, unconsciousness, and amnesia.


Affect on Body: A couple of minutes after taking the drug, the user may experience an increase in heart rate and blood pressure that gradually decreases over the next 10-20 minutes, Ketamine can make users unresponsive to stimuli. When in this state, users experience: involuntary rapideye movement, dilated pupils, salivation, tear secretions, and stiffening of the muscles. This drug can also cause nausea.


Drugs Causing Similar Effects: Other hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, PCP, and mescaline can cause hallucinations. There are also several drugs such as GHB, Rohypnol and other depressants that are misused for their amnesiac or sedative properties to facilitate sexual assault.


Overdose Effects: An overdose can cause unconsciousness and dangerously slowed breathing.


*Above information and image below courtesy of the Drug Enforcement Administration (

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