When injected this is usually found as a clear liquid in ampoules (brand name Ketalar).
As tablets or powder ranging in colour from off-white to light brown.
Desired Effects:Numbness in limbs, sense of euphoria, pain relieving, a feeling that mind is separate from the body – described as a floating feeling or the ‘K hole’, dream-like feeling, chilled, relaxed and happy
Side Effects:Drowsiness, dizziness, numbness, loss of coordination, confusion, hallucinations, dissociation -'out-of-the-body' feelings.
- Ketamine is a dissociative psychedelic used medically as a veterinary and human anaesthetic.
- Ketamine impairs coordination, so minor accidents like bumping into things are common; it can make you forgetful as well.
- If you take ketamine when you are out and about you risk losing coordination very suddenly; this could be potentially very dangerous and can make you very vulnerable. And as an anaesthetic, Ketamine means you won't feel pain so you are at more risk of injuring yourself.
- Although it is fairly short acting, stick to small doses. You are safer on a small dose than if you take a large amount in one go.
- Avoid swallowing ketamine - ketamine in the stomach makes cramps worse. Don't sit in the bath to soothe the pain as there is a risk you may become unconsciousness and drown. Seek medical advice and mention your ketamine use to the doctor.
- If snorting alternate nostrils, and clean your nostrils after each session to minimise damage.
- Injecting ketamine brings the additional risk of damage to your veins, skin infections and contracting blood bourne viruses such as Hepatitis or HIV. If you choose to use this way, get safer injecting advice from your nearest needle exchange.
- There is a risk of bladder problems and kidney damage with regular use. Long-term ketamine use has been shown to damage the bladder and urinary tract, causing 'ketamine bladder'.
- If you experience pain in your bladder seek medical help, tell your GP that that you use ketamine. Try to stop or reduce your use if you notice any symptoms.
- Try to keep your use as low as possible. Give yourself breaks from using if you can to avoid developing tolerance and dependency.
- If you feel depressed and anxious when stopping ketamine use or reducing the amount you use, get some professional help to do this. Gradual reduction may help. Try to distract yourself with purposeful and enjoyable activities.
- If you experience ongoing panic and anxiety attacks get support from your nearest drug agency.
- Don't use ketamine with alcohol or other depressant drugs as the effects can be unpredictable and may lead to overdose.
- Make sure you have more days where you don't use, than days where you use.
- If you choose to use ketamine use in a safe environment especially if you are an inexperienced user.
- Tell someone you are with what you are taking and have a person you trust with you in case things go wrong.
- If someone is suffering bad effects like vomiting, convulsions, unconsciousness - put them in the recovery position and call for medical assistance immediately.
Long term risks:Psychological dependency, tolerance, bladder problems.
Short term risks:Accidents, anxiety, panic attack and/or collapse.
Orally as tablets, powder may be snorted up the nose, injected.
GPs can make referrals to specialist drug services. For a description of what the different drug services do, choose helping services from here or the main menu.
Parents & other relatives
Drug agencies also provide lots of advice and support to parents of people using these drugs. Many street agencies can provide relative support groups or counselling for family members, partners etc.