Ketamine

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  • ket
  • ketaset
  • ketalar
  • kitkat
  • lady k
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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.

Download the ketamine fact sheet.

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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?

See full support list
  • The Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) is a free and confidential counselling helpline for NSW residents with concerns around alcohol and/or drug misuse and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ADIS is staffed by professional counsellors who provide education, information, counselling, support and referrals to other appropriate services in NSW.

    Are you worried you could be drinking too much or consuming drugs in a way that has become a problem? Are you worried about your friends or family finding out and want to get help quickly and quietly? Are you worried about the drug use of someone close to you – maybe a family member or friend? Maybe you just want to know where someone can get help? 

    ADIS clinicians understand the difficulties of speaking out, seeking help and finding appropriate drug and alcohol treatment, and use their knowledge and experience to assist you and answer questions, such as:

    • How can I cut-down or stop my alcohol or drug use?
    • What help can I get?
    • Do I have to wait long to get help?
    • Can anyone ring ADIS?
    • Who do I talk to when I ring ADIS?
    • Will drug and alcohol treatments be difficult?
    • What is this drug doing to me?
    • What are the short and long term problems that could develop if I continue using?
    • Will ADIS tell anyone that I rang?
    • What can I expect when I ring?
    • Does ADIS record calls?

    You can call ADIS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 250 015 or for Sydney Metropolitan 02 8382 1000 or alternatively you can start a Web Chat.

    ADIS Web Chat is available from Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm (including public holidays).

    ADIS also has a range of telephone lines offering specialised drug and alcohol information and support to particular groups.

    24 hour support line

    1800 250 015

    More about Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW
  • The Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) Web Chat is a live online conversation with a professional counsellor. The service is free, confidential and open to anyone affected by alcohol and other drugs, including people concerned about their own use, or about a family member or friend. Web chat is only available for people living in NSW.

    The service is provided by ADIS at St Vincent's Hospital, in partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health.

    What to expect

    • A counsellor will chat with you about your alcohol or other drug concerns
    • A counsellor can provide a referral or contact information for relevant alcohol and drug services in NSW
    • Our chat is confidential unless you disclose any intention to harm yourself or others.
    • WebChat is provided in English however if you prefer to speak in a language other than English we would be happy to arrange a telephone call with you through the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National). Please call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 250 015 to arrange this.

    Emergency Assistance

    Call Emergency Services on 000 if you:

    • require urgent medical attention or
    • are in immediate danger or
    • are at risk of harming yourself or someone else.


    Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm (including public holidays)

    #;Web Chat

    More about ADIS Web Chat
  • Your Service Hub is an online directory of alcohol and other drugs support, health and welfare services. If you need support for your own or someone else's substance use, you should use terms in Find Services like:

    • drug and alcohol family support

    • drug and alcohol Aboriginal services 

    • drug counselling

    • drug and alcohol rehabilitation

    • drug and alcohol residential treatment

    Use your suburb name to narrow the search to services near you.

    Not sure what service you need? Call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 250 015.

    More about Your Service Hub
  • Family Drug Support (FDS) provides support and assistance to families throughout Australia who are experiencing difficulty with a family member using alcohol or other drugs.

    FDS is a non-religious, non-judgemental and caring organisation of volunteers who have first-hand experience living with family members experiencing alcohol or drug dependency.

    FDS supports families by providing information about alcohol and other drugs, dependence and treatment options, while also helping families to overcome stigma and reduce self-blame, provide mutual support and help families build skills to strengthen their relationships.

    FDS provide a 24 hour, 7 days a week support line for families, support groups and meetings, the 'Stepping Stones' and 'Stepping Forward' courses, events and resources.

    Find out how FDS can help you.

    24 hour support line

    1300 368 186

    More about Family Drug Support (FDS)
  • Families, friends and loved ones can play a critical role in the recovery of people who experience alcohol and other drug problems, however they are often focused on the needs of others while they neglect their own their own health and wellbeing.

    The Family and Friend Support Program (FFSP) is an online cognitive behavioural therapy program to support people who are caring for or supporting someone with alcohol and other drug use issues.

    FFSP is based on a series of modules and includes information and activities on how families and friends can help their loved ones, with a specific emphasis on the person providing the support and their often unmet needs. The program is also suitable for health professionals.

    For information on how to start a conversation with your loved one about their alcohol and or other drug use, tips on how to look after yourself and other resources visit our For Families mini-site.

    Cost

    The program is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

    Please note that for Health Professionals there are costs involved in the 5-step training. Details about the training can be found on the Health Professionals portal in FFSP (under the icon 5-step).

    The FFSP is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.

    More about Family and Friend Support Program
  • PeerLine is confidential service run by the NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA). NUAA works to improve the health, welfare and dignity of people who use drugs. 

    PeerLine is a free, confidential peer supported telephone service for people who use drugs, who are on the Opioid Treatment Program or seeking treatment. Trained peers will help you with information, advice and advocacy

    NUAA-PeerLine-FullLogo.png

    PeerLine is available from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

    Call for free on 1800 644 413 or email peerline@nuaa.org.au to connect.

    Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm

    1800 644 413

    More about NUAA PeerLine
Your Room > A-Z of Drugs > Ketamine