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Ketamine

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What is ketamine?

Ketamine hydrochloride is a depressant and acts on the central nervous system as an anaesthetic agent. It is used to make the body insensitive to surgical treatment. It may be used in combination with other medicines to induce anaesthesia. It works by stopping the brain from interpreting messages of pain. Ketamine is also used for veterinary purposes.

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Ketamine
Ketamine

Ketamine

(C13H16ClNO)

Ketamine can be in a clear liquid form or a white crystalline powder. It can be made into tablets and pills and is sometimes sold as ‘ecstasy’. Ketamine is often swallowed, snorted, shafted (inserted anally) or injected intramuscularly. It is sometimes smoked with other substances such as cannabis or tobacco.

Physical effects can include

  • impaired motor coordination
  • twitching eye movement
  • nausea and vomiting
  • anaphylaxis (serious allergic reaction)
  • sweating
  • blurred vision
  • constricted pupils
  • slurred speech
  • increased libido
  • reduced sensitivity to pain and numbness of the extremities
  • drowsiness
  • risk of accidents
  • convulsions

How ketamine affects your body

Tap a body part to learn more of the effects ketamine places on your body.

Psychological effects can include

  • euphoria and relaxation
  • feelings of dissociation (being detached from the body)
  • disorientation
  • disorganised thoughts, confusion and difficulty concentrating, thinking or maintaining attention
  • hallucinations and distorted sensory processing, including auditory, bodily, time and space perception
  • delusions
  • dysphoria (feeling unwell or unhappy)
  • anxiety, agitation, paranoia
  • erratic, hostile bizarre behaviour
  • feelings of panic and terror

General information

Is ketamine a problem for you?

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  • Whether you are having issues with alcohol or other drugs, are concerned about someone else’s alcohol or other drug use, or just have general questions about alcohol or other drugs, you can call ADIS any time of the day or week for support, information, counselling and referral to services in NSW.

    24 hour support line

    1800 422 599

    More about Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW
  • Your Service Hub is an online directory of health and welfare services.

    You can use Your Service Hub to find alcohol and other drug services if you need support for your own or someone else's substance use. Use specific search terms like 'family', 'Aboriginal' and 'drug counselling' to narrow your search down.

    Not sure what service you need? Call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 9361 8000 (Sydney) or free call 1800 422 599 (NSW regional callers).

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