Drugs and Alcohol


What is ketamine? 
Ketamine is a powerful general anaesthetic that lasts for a short time. It has been used during surgery on humans and animals. It usually comes in liquid form which turns into a crystalline substance when ‘cooked up’ (on a cooker or in a microwave) which is then ground into powder and snorted.

What are the effects of ketamine? 
Ketamine dulls the nervous system and causes those who take it to lose feeling all over their body and go numb for a short amount of time. It can also cause hallucinations meaning that a person who takes it might experience sensations, sights or sounds that are distorted from reality or aren’t real. As with all drugs, its effect in each individual person can be hard to predict. The amount and the purity of the substance you are taking and your own emotional state at the time will influence your experience.
The negative effects of ketamine
People can get used to ketamine quickly and build up a tolerance. This means that they need to take more of it each time to feel the same effects. Taking more increases the chances of damage from the substance.
Young people described other bad physical effects that they and friends experienced when using ketamine. It has been discovered that ketamine use can cause extreme bladder problems. One of Alex B’s friends is a regular user and is receiving medical care for what appears to be a condition known as ‘Ketamine Induced Ulcerative Cystitis’ which is a bladder problem. Alex said that she started feeling ill after she began snorting ketamine.
Mixing ketamine with other drugs
Some young people had tried ketamine alongside other drugs, intentionally and unintentionally. Sam experienced an unusual ‘come down’ (what people experience as the effects of a drug wear off) from ecstasy once and thought that the tablets may have been cut heavily with ketamine. He said that ecstasy doesn’t make you hallucinate the way that he did at that time.

Last reviewed July 2018.
Last updated: January 2015.


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