Ketamine hydrochloride, street name ketamine, ’k’ or ‘special k’ is a drug commonly used as a vetinary tranquilizer, which over the past decade has found its way into the club scene as a recreational drug often used at ‘raves’ and clubs.

Ketamine can be injested in a number of different ways, it is produced as a liquid which the user will cook into a white powder for snorting, ketamine may also be injected into muscle tissue, smoked, or even swallowed. After smoking it may be fifteen to twenty minutes before the effects are felt, however after injection the effects are almost immediate.

The drug can make users feel relaxed and cause a feeling of floating as if mind and body are separated. Ketamine can also cause a state of physical paralysis and feelings of detachment, as with LSD ketamine can cause hallucinations resulting in a good or bad ‘trip’. Users describe the effect of the drug as descending into the’k’ hole.

The intense hallucinatory effects of ketamine are quite short acting  lasting one hour or less, however the users senses, co-ordination and judgment remain impaired for up to twenty four hours after the use of the drug, long term damage may be be caused to the brain, with the user potentially experiencing neuroses and periodic separation from consciousness.

With regular or large doses, ketamine can make existing mental health problems worse, and can cause feelings of confusion, panic attacks and depression.

High doses, especially when taken with other substances like alcohol, benzodiazepines or opiates, can dangerously affect breathing and heart function and can lead to unconsciousness, which can be even more dangerous if vomit is inhaled. Long term use can cause very serious and irreversible bladder, urinary tract and kidney problems.

During recovery when access to the drug is denied, the dependant user is likely to experience psychological withdrawal symptoms, consisting of insomnia, irritability and intense depression. Physical symptoms are less severer than with many drugs, however without structured inpatient treatment, relapse is likely.