Know the facts and connect with support to help you address known or suspected substance use with your child.

    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.[1]

    Also known as special K, super K and vitamin k, among other slang terms, ketamine is manufactured as an injectable liquid. In illicit use ketamine is swallowed or evaporated to form a snortable powder. It is odorless and tasteless, so it can be added to beverages without being detected, and it induces amnesia. Because it has been used to commit sexual assaults due to its ability to sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims, ketamine is also considered to be a “date rape” drug.[1]

    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.

    Understand 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.[2]

    Identify & address use

    Signs of use include delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure and depression. If you’re concerned your child may be using ketamine or other substances, the following can help you address the behavior more effectively.

    Spot the Signs of Teen or Young Adult Substance Use

    A few simple tips and guidelines can go a long way toward spotting issues with drug use earlier rather than later.
    Learn more

    How Worried Should I Be About My Child’s Drug Use?

    So your kid has been using drugs or drinking. Is this just what kids do? Is it going to become a problem? Don’t leave the answers to chance.
    Learn more

    What Do I Do if My Child is Using Drugs?

    It can be scary if your child is using drugs or alcohol, and it's important to confront it. We're here to give you tips and strategies on how to do it.
    Learn more

    Last Updated

    June 2020

    [1]Club Drugs (GHB, Ketmaine, and Rohypnol). National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dec. 2014, www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/drugfacts_clubdrugs_12_2014.pdf.
    [2]National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Commonly Abused Drugs Charts.” NIDA, 2 July 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#ketamine.
    Additional Sources:
    “Ketamine.” DEA, https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/ketamine.
    “Get Smart About Drugs.” Find Help | Get Smart About Drugs, https://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/drugs/ketamine.
    “Club Drugs.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 Nov. 2018, https://medlineplus.gov/clubdrugs.html.

    We use cookies to improve your experience and serve you relevant information. To learn more, read our privacy policy.
    I accept