Ketamine

Know the facts about ketamine and connect with help and support to keep your child safe.

What are some slang terms?
Cat Tranquilizer, Cat Valium, Jet K, Kit Kat, Purple, Special K, Special La Coke, Super Acid, Super K, and Vitamin K

What is it?
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause a person to feel detached from reality. Much of the ketamine sold on the street has been diverted from veterinarians’ offices. Ketamine’s chemical structure and mechanism of action are similar to those of PCP.

What does it look like?
Although it is manufactured as an injectable liquid, in illicit use ketamine is generally evaporated to form a powder.

How is it used?
Ketamine is snorted or swallowed. Ketamine is odorless and tasteless, so it can be added to beverages without being detected, and it induces amnesia. Ketamine is also considered to be a “date rape” drug because it has been used to commit sexual assaults due to its ability to sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims, preventing them from resisting sexual assault.

What do young people hear about it?
Ketamine can cause dream-like states and hallucinations. People who use the drug report sensations ranging from a pleasant feeling of floating to being separated from their bodies.

What are the risks?
Some ketamine experiences involve a terrifying feeling of almost complete sensory detachment that is likened to a near-death experience. These experiences, similar to a “bad trip” on LSD, are called the “K-hole.” Low-dose intoxication from ketamine results in impaired attention, learning ability, and memory. In high doses, ketamine can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.

Flashbacks have been reported several weeks after ketamine is used. Prolonged use may also cause agitation, depression, cognitive difficulties, unconsciousness, and amnesia.

What are signs of use?

  • Impaired attention, learning ability, and memory
  • Delirium
  • Amnesia
  • Impaired motor function
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Next Steps

Look for Warning Signs

Do you think your child may be using drugs? If so, have you noticed any of these changes or warning signs?

Prepare to Take Action

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Start Talking

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Get One-on-One Help

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