NIDA Community Drug Alert Bulletin - Club Drugs

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Slang or Street Names: Special K, K, Vitamin K, Cat Valium

Ketamine is an anesthetic that can be injected, snorted, or smoked. It has been approved for both human and animal use in medical settings since 1970. About 90 percent of the ketamine sold legally today is intended for veterinary use.

  • Large doses cause reactions similar to those associated with use of phencyclidine (PCP), such as dream-like states and altered perceptions or hallucinations.
  • Ketamine is produced in liquid form or as a white powder that is often snorted or smoked with marijuana or tobacco products. In some cities (Boston, New Orleans, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, for example), ketamine has been reported to be injected intramuscularly.
  • Low-dose intoxication from ketamine results in impaired attention, learning ability, and memory.
  • At higher doses, ketamine can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.

*CEWG cities in which ketamine abuse has been reported include: Seattle, Miami, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, Boston, Detroit, New Orleans, and San Diego.