Ketamine is another central nervous system depressant abused as a "date rape" drug. Ketamine, or "Special K," is a rapid-acting general anesthetic. It has sedative-hypnotic, analgesic, and hallucinogenic properties. It is marketed in the U.S. and a number of foreign countries for use as a general anesthetic in both human and veterinary medical practice.
It is similar to phencyclidine (PCP), although ketamine has a more rapid onset and is less potent. Depending on the dose, ketamine induces everything from feelings of pleasant weightlessness to full-fledged out-of-body or near-death experiences. Ketamine is reportedly used as an alternative to cocaine and is generally snorted.
Ketamine abuse has been reported in many cities around the country. It has been reportedly stolen from veterinary supply sources in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Michigan. In Miami, ketamine has been diverted from shipments intended for other countries. Ketamine is widely available in New York City where it sells for about $20 a dosage unit. A small but stable market for ketamine has been established in suburban areas outside Baltimore. Three ketamine deaths were reported in New Orleans in 1998, and the Detroit Poison Control Center reported six ketamine contacts in early 1999.Slang or Street Names:
Special K, K, Vitamin K, Cat Valiums
Ketamine is an Injectable anesthetic that has been approved for both human and animal use in medical settings since 1970. About 90 percent of the ketamine legally sold today is intended for veterinary use.
- Ketamine gained popularity for abuse in the 1980s, when it was realized that large doses cause reactions similar to those associated with use of phencyclidine (PCP), such as dream-like states and hallucinations.
- Ketamine is produced in liquid form or as a white powder that is often snorted or smoked with marijuana or tobacco products. In some cities (Boston, New Orleans, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, for example), ketamine is reportedly being injected intramuscularly.
- At higher doses, ketamine can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.
- Low-dose intoxication from ketamine results in impaired attention, learning ability, and memory.