increasing concerns over ketamine use

1st July, 2020 10:47 am

Sacpa has recently been approached by Drugsline Education in response to an increase in calls from pastoral staff, parents and young people regarding Ketamine, a horse tranquiliser that is also abused as a recreational drug. Drugline Education have put together some information to increase awareness of the recreational use of Ketamine and support in the possible detection of misuse.

Signs of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine is a dissociative tranquilizer used mostly in the veterinary field as an anaesthetic but is also abused as a recreational club drug. Ketamine is classified as a hallucinogen. This means that when abused, Ketamine has powerful hallucinogenic properties that cause the user to feel detached from reality and can cause highly unpredictable results. Ketamine affects people very differently and there is no way to know which dosage level could be dangerous.
Abusing Ketamine often leads to a psychological dependence. Over time, the user develops a tolerance, meaning they have to take more to get the same effects.

The Dangers of Ketamine

Ketamine is a Class B drug, making it illegal for recreational use. Class B drugs are likely to cause psychological dependence and may cause physical dependence. When someone uses the drug recreationally, they may experience serious side effects, such as:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Slurred speech
  • Depression
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of coordination
  • Disorientation
  • Respiratory distress
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Psychotic episodes and hallucinations
  • Slowed movement
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Numbness
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired motor function
  • Distorted perceptions of sight and sound.

Bladder damage is common in Ketamine addicts. 25% of Ketamine users report pain related to emptying their bladder, the urine often containing blood. Even users who only take Ketamine occasionally report the sensation of “ket cramps,” or pain while urinating due to the abrasive nature of the chemicals passing through their kidneys and urinary tract. In only months of heavy use, the bladder is often destroyed.

When Ketamine is abused for an extended period of time, these side effects can last well over a year. Brain damage and impaired cognitive function can be permanent, as can kidney damage. Respiratory failure and increased heart rate can result in death.

Source: Drugsline Education.

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