What is ketamine?
It’s a powerful general anaesthetic which stops you feeling pain and it’s used for operations on humans and animals. The effects don’t last long, but until they wear off, ketamine can cause a loss of feeling in the body and paralysis of the muscles. It can also lead to you experiencing a distortion of reality.
- Reduce sensations in the body, giving you a floating or detached feeling as if the mind and body have been separated, with some people feeling incapable of moving. This has been linked to having a near-death experience and is sometimes called "entering the k-hole".
Change how you see and hear things and can cause hallucinations. You can 'trip' for between half and hour to several hours, and after-effects may be felt for some hours afterwards.
Cause confusion, agitation, panic attacks, and impairment in short and long term memory. Frequent use is sometimes associated with the development of depression.
Cause very serious bladder problems in regular users. They can have problems peeing and when they do it can be very painful. Sometimes the damage is so bad that the bladder has to be removed by surgery. The urinary tract, from the kidneys down to the bladder, can also be badly affected.
What does ketamine look like?
When used as a medical anaesthetic, ketamine is a liquid, because this makes it easy to inject.
‘Street’ ketamine is normally a grainy, white powder – although sometimes it can come as tablets.
On average, a gram of ketamine in powder form costs £20.
How is ketamine taken?
There are a number of ways of taking ketamine:
- Some people swallow it in tablet form.
- Most people snort ketamine, like cocaine or speed.
- If it is liquid, it can be injected.
No method is safe, but injecting is very risky. Injecting any drug and sharing injecting equipment runs the risk of spreading a virus, such as HIV or hepatitis C. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged, which can lead to infections and/or gangrene (death of body tissue) which can result in you losing a finger, toe or a limb.