Ketamine

  • cat tranquilizer
  • ket
  • ketaset
  • ketalar
  • kitkat
  • lady k
  • special 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?

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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.

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

    24 hour support line

    1800 250 015

    More about Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW
  • The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change lives in many different ways, to support the community we have developed a range of alcohol and other drug specific resources to help you with accessing services and support you with any stress and anxiety you may be experiencing. We will continue to update this page as new resources and information becomes available.

    For general updates, advice and facts visit COVID-19 (coronavirus) and follow NSW Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    Contact the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) for up-to-date information about
    service availability in your area during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ADIS helpline is open 24/7 on 1800 250 015 or via Web Chat Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5:00pm.

    You can also contact the Family Drug Support (FDS) 24/7 helpline on 1300 368 186 for drug and alcohol issues, or access online support via the FDS We hear you - Families matter during COVID 19 page.

    On this page

    1. Impact on alcohol and other drug services
    2. Managing your use of alcohol and other drugs
    3. Looking after your mental and physical health
    4. Safety and wellbeing

    Impact on alcohol and other drug services

    As the COVID-19 pandemic develops, NSW Health is working with local health districts, non-government organisation (NGO), alcohol and other drug (AOD) services and community pharmacies to ensure continuity of service. For full details visit Guidance for AOD Services about COVID-19 on the NSW Health website. For information on access to free naloxone (opioid overdose reversing medicine), visit 'Take home naloxone – a key component in COVID-19 preparedness'.

    Visit the Opioid Treatment Program page for information on the program and FAQs for OTP patients during the COVID-19 pandemic (PDF), which includes answers to questions such as: Will I be able to continue to get my opioid treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic? What are my rights when negotiating my treatment during this time? I am required to self-isolate or have COVID-19 and cannot leave my house, how do I get my dose?

    People who test positive for COVID-19 and are currently undergoing treatment for alcohol and other drug dependence can continue with their program. Talk to your service provider to discuss your treatment in the event you test positive.

    Watch Dr Anthony Gill, Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist, NSW Health on advice for service providers. 

    Managing your use of alcohol and other drugs

    NSW Health have launched the new free smartphone app, Drinks Meter. The app is a useful tool in this time of social distancing and isolation as it provides you with an opportunity to manage your alcohol consumption in times of stress and anxiety.

    The Get Healthy Service Alcohol Reduction Program is also available for people who want to reduce their alcohol consumption to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and a healthier lifestyle. The Alcohol Reduction Program is open to anyone aged 18 years and over.

    NUAA, the NSW Users and AIDS Association, have published a new fact sheet on COVID-19 and Harm Reduction. The fact sheet provides advice and information on protecting your health while using drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Also read ACON helping to reduce COVID-19 drug and alcohol harm, for information and harm reduction advice regarding alcohol and crystal (methamphetamine) use. Written and designed by ACON, Australia's leading community-based organisation specialising in HIV and LGBTQ health.

    Looking after your mental and physical health

    In this time of unprecedented concern about our collective health and livelihoods, it is more important than ever to remain socially connected and physically healthy. For more advice and tips to keep healthy read Maintaining happiness amid global anxiety and Soothing COVID-19 isolation anxiety.

    Safety and wellbeing

    There is no excuse for violence and abuse. This includes during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or someone you care about is experiencing domestic and family violence there are services available to provide support.

    If you or anyone else is in immediate danger, please call Police on 000 (triple zero).

    You can contact 1800 RESPECT online or by phone on 1800 737 732 for confidential information, support and counselling. Women can also contact the NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63 for support, counselling and referral to ongoing support.

    If you are worried about your own behaviour and use of violence, you can visit the NSW Government's Communities & Justice webpage for information or contact the Men's Referral Service online or by phone on 1300 766 491.

    For further information please visit the NSW Government's COVID-19 Mental health and safety webpage.

    More about COVID-19 Support
  • 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

    To start a web chat counselling session read and accept the 'Terms and Conditions of Use' below.

    Alternatively, if you would like to speak to a drug and alcohol counsellor over the phone, please call the National Alcohol and Other Drug helpline on 1800 250 015 which will direct you to your state service. The helpline is available 24/7 for anonymous and confidential support.

    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

    along with 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
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