Ketamine is a drug which is often used for operations on humans and animals as it is a short-acting general anaesthetic.

It has hallucinogenic qualities and blocks nerve pathways without depressing respiratory and circulatory functions. It depresses the nervous system. Ketamine comes in the form of clear liquid, pills or powder. Ketamine is a Class C drug. This means that it is illegal to possess it and supply it. Doing so may result in an unlimited fine and up to 14 years imprisonment.


The effects of ketamine are dose sensitive. However, it has been noted that tolerance to it can be built rapidly. Ketamine use may result in impaired memory, mild schizophrenia several days after the use of it, the loss of body control, hallucinations, and altered perception, followed by numbness in the limbs, involuntary muscle movements, the feeling of sickness, disorientation and unconsciousness. Other effects include impaired attention and vision, loss of appetite, high blood pressure and psychosis. Further, ketamine may cause severe allergic reactions such as a rash, itching, swelling of the mouth and face, and slurred speech. It also causes problems with the bladder and has been known to rot the bladder. When used in high doses and in combination with other drugs, ketamine use may result in suppressed breathing, paralysis, lung and heart failure and sometimes death. “The combined effects can leave the user of ketamine vulnerable to particular forms of crime, especially ‘date rape’”. (

Addiction and dependency

Ketamine is used recreationally in order to achieve euphoria, hallucinations and a sensation of feeling disconnected to your mind and body. The effects may last up to one hour depending on dose and individual. Ketamine users are especially at risk of psychological dependency on this drug. People using ketamine as a recreational drug often use it in combination with other types of drugs resulting in addiction and the need for treatment.

Ketamine has become more popular amongst younger people as it is easily accessible and cheaper than most of the other drugs with similar effects. There is a misconception that Ketamine does not produce drug dependency. This lures people into a false sense of security. Ketamine users are at an even greater risk of dependency and in great danger when using it with depressant drugs such as alcohol.

Treatment of ketamine addiction

Treatment of drug dependency in the UK is offered at various addiction treatment centres, organisations and through addiction counselling. Users who wish to stop using any drugs may also find help through Narcotics Anonymous.