Ketamine is a member of the family of club drugs, which include Ecstasy, MDMA, LSD and ketamine. These drugs are popular at parties, nightclubs, music venues and raves. Because of their popularity among youths at these fun events, the misconception that they are safe is far too pervasive. They are not safe. Sovereign Health takes club drug addiction seriously, as it is no less dangerous than heroin or methamphetamine addiction. Ketamine addiction can create a lot of hazards and stressful life events if not recognized or treated appropriately.
A tranquilizer, analgesic and dissociative anesthetic, ketamine is commonly used in surgeries and medical procedures for humans and animals. The drug blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate at its receptor, resulting in a trance-like dissociative state. Originally used to induce anesthesia in soldiers undergoing procedures on the battlefield during the Vietnam War, ketamine replaced the medical use of PCP in the 1960s and, hence, the first cases of ketamine addiction likely occurred in Vietnam veterans.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies ketamine as a Schedule III drug, and it is still widely used in human and veterinary medicine today. Because it can be synthetically produced in a laboratory, ketamine is commonly used as a street drug. Ketamine abuse is common among partygoers and clubbers. Street names include special K, vitamin K, kit kat, cat Valium and many others. Ketamine addiction occurs after multiple uses of the drug, which induces a euphoric state.
Ketamine is odorless, tasteless and available as a clear liquid or a white crystalline powder. The liquid form is injected and mixed into drinks. Ketamine’s amnesic effects enable its abuse as a “date rape” drug, which sexual predators slip into their victims’ drinks to render them unconscious. Ketamine can be snorted, taken orally or injected. Because it is difficult to manufacture, it is commonly isolated from pharmaceutical drugs used in human or veterinary medicine. Medically used ketamine is produced in the United States and in other countries. Most illegally used ketamine is stolen from legitimate sources, especially veterinary clinics, or smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico, reports the DEA.
Side Effects Of Ketamine Abuse
Ketamine produces a host of mental and physical side effects. As a hallucinogen, the drug distorts perceptions, including sights and sounds, and gives the user a sense of being disconnected or out of control, reports the DEA. These effects occur only a few minutes after taking the drug. Compared to LSD and PCP, ketamine’s hallucinogenic effects are relatively short and might last 30 to 60 minutes, rather than several hours.
Mental side effects of ketamine use include:
- Cognitive Difficulties
Physical side effects of ketamine use include:
- Dangerously slow breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Increased blood pressure
- Involuntary rapid eye movement
- Muscle stiffness
- Rapid heart rate
- Tear secretion