Popular among many teens and young adults in the club and rave scene, Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that is intended to be used only in medical and veterinary practice but is sometimes abused for its hallucinogenic properties and symptoms. Its effects are similar to those of PCP, another dissociative drug, meaning it creates a sort of detached high in those who abuse it.
Ketamine is an odorless and tasteless drug that can be taken as pills; via injections; as a liquid mixed into liquids; or as a powder that is snorted, mixed in drinks or smoked. It is a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has a low to moderate potential for physical and psychological abuse. However, the dangerous symptoms and effects of ketamine are very real.
Because it is difficult to come by compared to other high- or hallucination-inducing drugs, ketamine is not as widely used. Even so, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017, 1.2% of students in 12th grade reported they had used ketamine within the past year — meaning more than 1 in 100 has at least tried it.
Ketamine causes users to feel separated from their pain or their environment because it creates feelings of calmness, relaxation, amnesia, and other dissociative symptoms and sensations. Its hallucinatory effects last a relatively short 30 to 60 minutes, making ketamine a popular option for people wanting a fast “trip” — however, among other nasty symptoms, ketamine can often take people on a trip to places they don’t want to go. And while the hallucinatory effects are short-lived, ketamine side effects impacting judgment, senses and coordination can last for up to 24 hours.