Ketamine: History notes

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 4:49 pm

Surveys conducted in dance or rave settings across Europe found a significant number of people tried ketamine, but that the degree of regular use varies widely by geography and within groups of club goers. A survey conducted in London found that some 40% of the club goers surveyed planned on using ketamine that evening.
A survey conducted in Austria at the same time found that regular users of MDMA and amphetamines thought there were significant psychological risks associated with ketamine use. The authors also mentioned that the drug is perceived as being “high status.”
In Belgium, 89 kilos (about 200 lbs) of pure ketamine powder were seized in September 1999 along with a series of smaller busts made in January 2000. Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK have reported the seizure of significant amounts of ketamine. Ketamine seizures are nevertheless small when compared to seizures of methamphetamine and ecstasy (MDMA).
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) reports that while club drug use is predominant in the under 25 demographic, it cites surveys and anecdotal reports that indicate there is a group of users who are “older, highly educated, experienced, MDMA users, particularly in the free party/new age travellers scene, in the gay club scene, and among small groups of self-exploratory individuals.”
The report says that the most vulnerable group of users to ketamine overdose are those who take it under the illusion they are taking MDMA or some other stimulant drug. Someone expecting to take MDMA, cocaine, or amphetamine, for instance, may find themselves on a roadway behind the wheel of a car being affected instead by sudden physical incapacity.

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