Ketamine, also known as K, Special K or cat Valium, is a short-acting “dissociative” anesthetic due to its ability to separate perception from sensation. It also has hallucinogenic and painkilling qualities that seem to affect people in very different ways. Ketamine is chemically related to PCP (Angel Dust).

Although it is manufactured as an injectable liquid, ketamine is generally evaporated to form a powder that is snorted or compressed into pills for illicit use. Sometimes, it is put on tobacco or marijuana and smoked. It is distributed as powder in small “personal use” cocaine-like bottles, ziplock bags, capsules, in paper, glassine or aluminum “folds” or as a liquid in small vials or bottles. Specialized “puff pumpers,” small bottles with a small inhaler screw-on top designed to deliver approx. 40 mg of ketamine crystals,have been sold in “Rave” clubs.

A 10 ml vial of veterinary product containing one gram of ketamine sells, on average, for $100 on the street. A typical street package of powder (100 to 200 mg) sells for about $20. In the past, other drugs were not usually mixed with ketamine, now however, MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly), amphetamine,methamphetamine, cocaine, carisoprodol, and flunitrazepam have been encountered.

Ketamine is occasionally administered to people but more commonly, is used by veterinarians for pet surgery. Generally street K is most often diverted in liquid form from vets’ offices or medical suppliers. It produces a dose-related progression of effects from a state of dreamy intoxication to delirium accompanied by the inability to move, feel pain or remember what has occurred while under the drug’s influence. Because ketamine is odorless and tasteless and has amnesia-inducing properties, it is sometimes added to drinks to facilitate sexual assault.

Ketamine can cause a tremendous psychological dependence and may be physically addicting as well. If they use it regularly, abusers of Special K can quickly build a tolerance to the drug’s effects. Special K is illegal and possession can result in long prison terms.

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