Ketamine users are usually drawn to the drug for its hallucinogenic effects, which many claim gives them the feeling of being detached from their body. For medical purposes the drug has been used to sedate wounded troops and is still used to anaesthetise children and horses, and it is its anaesthetic properties that make it so dangerous when mixed with alcohol.
Harry Shapiro from Drugscope highlights that thought Ketamine is considered a party drug because it emerged in the 1990s, it isn’t really when you consider its effects. ”Accounts suggest it’s anything but a benign drug, with physical and psychological impacts. It’s an anaesthetic, and people have had accidents while under its effect and not realised they were injured.” He said.
UK charity Addaction has reported a 68 per cent increase in the number of enquiries from teenagers using ketamine in the past year and believes this rise could be related to individuals switching from the previously legal drug mephadrone.
Laurie Yearley from the Buckinghamshire Addaction clinic has said that last year he saw very few people (two or three) each week who were concerned about their ketamine use. However, he is now seeing around six or seven people a week who use ketamine as their main drug.
“People started using ketamine because it was cheap, but then they went on to mephedrone, which was legal,” Yearley said. “But when mephedrone was made illegal they went back to ketamine because they said it was like a milder form of mephedrone, which has pretty harsh side effects.” He said.
Yearley added that ketamine’s low price will also be a factor in its popularity, as does its class C classification which leads many to wrongly assuming it won’t be that bad for you.
However the drug has a plethora of extremely dangerous side effects, from remaining unaware of an injury due to the anaesthetic properties through to blood in urine.
Yearley also expressed concern over heavy users increasing their intake week upon week in a bid to achieve the same effects. “A lot of youngsters are snorting the drug because they think they are down there with the big boys who are doing coke. Part of it is an image thing. But if you start using it a bit on Monday and on Tuesday, your tolerance disappears quickly and by Thursday you need to spend £10 to get the same effect and the following week it’s £20.” He said.
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View the original Guardian article.