Ketamine – known popularly as “Special K” – is often referred to as a club drug because of its popularity with teens and young adults who use it in group settings such as nightclubs. Although often used to have a good time, ketamine abuse can have many unhappy, even tragic consequences.
About Ketamine Abuse
First developed in 1963, ketamine was intended to be a replacement for phencyclidine (PCP). It is a dissociative anesthetic that makes patients feel detached from their pain and environment. It distorts both visual and aural perceptions and produces hallucinations that generally last 30 – 60 minutes.
Ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it has high abuse potential, with a moderate to low risk of physical dependence and a higher risk for psychological dependence. Ketamine is sold as a white powder that can be snorted. Users may opt to mix the powder with tobacco or marijuana and smoke it. It is also produced as a clear liquid that can be swallowed or injected. Ketamine induces a dreamlike state in users and they feel less inhibited. When injected, the effects may be felt in as little as one to five minutes. When swallowed, it may take as long as 30 minutes for the effects to be felt. Users may experience “flashbacks” days or even weeks after the drug was taken. Of particular concern is the fact that ketamine is used as a date rape drug because it can easily be used to spike drinks when in liquid form.