Ketamine

Contents



What are Club Drugs?

Club drugs (also sometimes called Dance Drugs or Designer Drugs) are drugs which at one time were found most frequently in night clubs and at raves, but have since become some of the fastest growing drugs used by college students. These drugs include MDMA (ecstasy, E, or X), ketamine (special K), GHB, and crystal methamphetamine (speed, crank, crystal, tina).




What is ketamine?

Ketamine, known as Special K, Vitamin K or Cat Valiums, is an injectable anesthetic. It is most commonly used by veterinarians on large animals today. In the 1980s it began to be used recreationally as an intoxicant.




How is ketamine used?

Ketamine is either sold as a dry white powder or a clear liquid (in its original pharmaceutical packaging). The powder is made by drying the liquid. The residue from this drying process is then crushed and snorted in small doses (called bumps). In rare cases ketamine is injected intramuscularly or smoked with tobacco or marijuana. Whether smoked or snorted, the effects begin in a few minutes and lasts less than an hour.




Why do people take ketamine?

In large doses ketamine produces effects in humans similar to phencyclidine (PCP) such as dream-like dissociative states and hallucinations. It has a number of contradictory effects, including stimulant, sedative, anesthetic, and hallucinogenic properties. Users describe feeling like they are drunk, stoned, and tripping all at once.




What are the short-term dangers of taking ketamine?

Ketamine blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate at one of its receptors, causing a user to feel distanced from his/her environment. But ketamine also causes the user to feel euphoric and insensitive to physical pain. When ketamine is used as an anesthetic in humans, it is used with another drug to prevent hallucinations.

As with PCP, people can have bad reactions to ketamine. It impairs a person's ability to drive and can cause violent paranoia, agitation, or confusion. Ketamine can also put users in a state called a "k-hole" where they become unable to move or communicate and feel very far away from their body. Some users seek this state, which they consider to simulate a near-death experience, while others find it frightening and disturbing. Because it can render the user unable to move, ketamine has also been used as a date rape drug.

It is difficult to regulate a "dose" of ketamine, and there is only a slight difference in dose between the desired effects and an overdose. Ketamine is a depressant at higher doses and can dangerously reduce heart rate and respiratory function. Combining ketamine with other depressants, like alcohol, valium, or GHB, can lead to serious medical consequences. It can also produce delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function or depression at high doses. Ketamine was associated with 46 deaths between 1994 and 1998.




Are there long-term consequences to taking ketamine?

Because ketamine has only recently been used as a recreational drug, there are no studies available on its long-term effects. However, there is some anecdotal evidence that low-dose intoxication can impair learning ability, attention, and memory. Like other hallucinogens, ketamine can also cause severe flashbacks. Frequent use and higher doses can cause disruptions in consciousness, leading to neurosis or other mental disorders.




How do I recognize a problem with ketamine?

Some of the signs of problem use are:

  • More frequent use.
  • Needing more and more to get the same high.
  • Spending time thinking about ketamine.
  • Spending more money than you have on the drug.
  • Missing class, work, or failing to finish assignments because of ketamine use.
  • Making new friends who do it and neglecting old friends who don't.
  • Finding it's hard to be happy without it.

If you find that you can't stop using ketamine, remember there's help available.




Is ketamine addictive?

While no studies have been done to measure ketamine's physically addictive properties, it is acknowledged, even by its proponents, to be psychologically addictive. Timothy Leary himself has described ketamine as the most powerful of psychedelic drugs. For people who want to feel dissociated from their environment, this drug can be dangerously appealing and there are many reported cases of addiction.




Is ketamine illegal?

Yes, taking ketamine is illegal and its possession, use, and sale carry heavy prison sentences and fines and disciplinary consequences at UCSC.




How do I help a friend who's having trouble with drugs or alcohol?

If you are concerned about a friend's drug or alcohol use, this page contains information about different ways to help them.




Resources at UCSC

Emergency response available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Student Health Outreach & Promotion (SHOP)
831-459-3772
SHOP provides confidential appointments for drug or alcohol concerns. SHOP is located in the Student Health Center, across the street from Colleges 9 & 10. As you walk up the ramp to the Health Center, SHOP is located in the building on your left, next to the Pharmacy.

Student Health Services
831-459-2500
Confidential walk-in or appointment health care

Counseling & Psychological Services
831-459-2628
CAPS staff provides the UCSC community with a wide range of mental health services, including short-term individual and couples counseling, group counseling, crisis assessment and intervention, and referral services.




Resources in Santa Cruz

Recovery Wave
http://www.santacruzhealth.org/recoverywave/
Santa Cruz County's Alcohol and Drug Abuse help pages. If you think that you, a family member, or a friend has an alcohol or drug problem, you've come to the right place.

Alcoholics Anonymous
http://www.aasantacruz.org/
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Narcotics Anonymous
831-429-7436 HOTLINE (24 hour)
Call for current open meeting schedules. Disabled Accessibility.

Marijuana Anonymous
http://www.marijuana-anonymous.org/
P.O. Box 1481
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
SC Hotline/Meetings:
831-427-4088
Self-help (non-religious) fellowship group for those who cannot control their marijuana use and are experiencing adverse effects in other areas of their life. No fee is charged.




Links You Can Use

Dance Safe
http://www.dancesafe.org/
Dance Safe is a harm-reduction web site centered on drugs found in nightclubs and raves. The site offers drug information, a risk assessment, ecstasy testing kits and e-news.

The Good Drugs Guide
http://www.thegooddrugsguide.com/ketamine/index.htm
This British harm-reduction web site provides extensive information on ketamine, including the basics, dangers, mixing with other drugs and links.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
http://www.samhsa.gov/
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.