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Drug Information



What is ketamine?

Ketamine is an anaesthetic drug legally produced for use in human and animal medicine. It is a dissociative anaesthetic making people feel detached from their environment. It also has hallucinogenic effects and can be used recreationally.

How is it used?

Ketamine is available in a variety of forms: liquid that can be injected, tablets that can be taken orally, powders that can be snorted and a formulation for smoking.

What are the effects?

The effects of ketamine can last up to three hours. Effects include euphoria, vomiting and nausea, slurring of speech and blurred vision. Users often report having out of body experiences. Users may also experience ‘true hallucinations’ (vivid hallucinations that are difficult to distinguish from reality).

When under the influence of ketamine users are less likely to feel pain, and will believe that their hallucinations are real, therefore there is serious potential for injury. If too much is taken the risk of becoming unconscious increases. As with all anaesthetics if a person has eaten in the hours before using there is chance that they may vomit, therefore risking choking on their own vomit.

If the amount used is higher than the recommended medical dose then there is a risk of respiratory collapse or heart failure.

There is little scientific evidence available on the long-term effects of ketamine use. Anecdotally flashbacks have been reported, along with memory, attention and visual impairment. Some evidence suggests that psychological dependence forms and, with repeated use, tolerance develops.

Legal status

Ketamine is a Class C drug.

  • The maximum penalty for possessing a Class C drug is two years in prison and/or unlimited fine.
  • The maximum penalty for supplying a Class C drug is 14 years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.


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