Ketamine Facts

What is the story behind this eternally popular club drug?

The drug known as ketamine hydrochloride was originally created as an anesthetic for human and veterinary use, but like so many drugs, ways have been found to abuse the substance. In the ‘90s it became popular in clubs, with partygoers using it as an alternative to ecstasy.

Also called “Special K,” the drug belongs to a group classified as “dissociative anesthetics” that includes PCP and nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas). While the drug originally comes in liquid form, it is often cooked into a white powder that recreational users snort. The drug can also be injected into muscle (never a vein, setting it apart from other IV drugs like heroin) for a quicker, more intense high.

A low dose of ketamine provides a mild, dreamy effect, a feeling many clubgoers feel enhances the experience of a night out. Higher doses produce a hallucinogenic effect, making many users feel disconnected from their bodies. An extreme ketamine trip is often referred to as falling in a “K-hole,” something that has been compared with a near-death experience.


Ketamine Side Effects

As with many drugs, the focus is on the desired feeling, not the ongoing effects. Ketamine does have numerous negative effects, though. They include numbness in extremities and extreme difficulty moving the body at all. Neuroses and mental disorders can result from frequent use and a psychological dependence can occur. Nausea and increased heart rate are also reported, while lower doses depress breathing and consciousness, making ketamine extremely dangerous when combined with alcohol, Valium or other chemical depressants.

Scientists have found a link between the frequent use of ketamine and memory problems.

Ketamine usage continues to increase faster than other drug in the UK, where scientists recently found a link between the drug and memory problems. Despite the dangers, it has become a popular mainstream club drug and shows no sign of disappearing from the scene.

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