Street Names:

“K,” “Special K,” and “Cat Valium”

“An alarming number of veterinary clinics continue to be targeted by thieves seeking Ketamine, a drug prized on the club scene for its euphoric and hallucinatory effects. The robberies follow a similar pattern: one or more people show up with a sickly looking dog, usually without an appointment, Ketamine is then demanded from the veterinarian at gunpoint.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, September 15, 2001

Chemical Composition:

Ketamine is a dissociative general anesthetic for human and veterinary use but is most commonly used on animals. It is generally stolen from veterinarians. Ketamine comes in vials of liquid that is typically poured onto hot plates and dried to a white crystalline powder, soluble in water or other liquids. The powder comes from allowing the liquid to evaporate and then grinding the residue into a powder. It looks similar to cocaine.

When Ketamine is used on humans for anesthetic purposes it is used in conjunction with Valium-like compounds (benzodiazepines); combining the two drugs suppresses the hallucinogenic effects.

Ketamine is a Schedule III substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a potential for abuse, currently has an accepted medical use, and abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.


It takes 5-15 minutes for Ketamine to take effect and it lasts for 30-90 minutes. The drug produces hallucinatory effects similar to those of PCP and the visual effects of LSD. It is not as potent as PCP.

Ketamine is called a dissociative anesthetic because it induces a lack of responsive awareness not only to pain but also to the general environment without the corresponding depression of autonomic reflexes and other vital brain stem functions. Users feel their mind is detached from their body.

Depending upon the dose, Ketamine can induce states of dreamy intoxication and delirium, accompanied by the inability to move and feel pain (about 40 minutes) or remember what has occurred (1 to 2 hours). The person does not necessarily lose consciousness. Although not asleep, the person seems unaware of what is going on around them. Ketamine is used as a date-rape drug because of the dissociative anesthetic effect.

Ketamine is called a “Predatory Drug;” it is often used to facilitate sexual assault and other crimes of violence.

“Approximately, 75mg of Ketamine hydrochloride was accidentally squirted in the eye of a veterinary assistant and within a few minutes the individual became unconscious which lasted about 10 minutes. She was treated and fully recovered after two and one-half hours but was still lethargic.” U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA Hazard Information Bulletin, January 12, 1989

Using Ketamine becomes an obsession that takes hold of the users mental abilities, and everything they think of is in relation to Ketamine.

Methods of Use:

Ketamine liquid can be injected, applied to smoking material or put into drinks. The powder can be dissolved in drinks, smoked or injected.

Low doses can produce an experience called “K-Land,” “a mellow, colorful wonder world.” Higher doses can produce effects referred to as “K-Hole,” and “out of body” or “near-death” experiences.

It is used at Rave parties.


Ketamine can cause delirium, amnesia, depression, long-term memory problems, cognitive difficulties, impaired perception, hallucinations, loss of coordination, slurred speech, seizures and respiratory arrest.


“Ketamine (Special K, ‘K’)”
Office of Diversion Control
Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section
Drug Enforcement Administration
Washington, D.C.

“An Overview of Club Drugs”
Drug Intelligence Brief / February 2000
Intelligence Division
Drug Enforcement Administration
Washington, D.C.

“Pharmacology of ‘Club Drugs’: Ecstasy, GHB, and Ketamine”
David V. Gauvin, Ph.D.
Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section
Office of Diversion Control
Drug Enforcement Administration
Washington, D.C.

“Club Drugs (MDMA/Ecstasy, Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine)”
Drug Facts
Executive Office of the President
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Washington, D.C.

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