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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.

    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 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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