Charity DrugScope reports a worrying trend that young people aretaking increasing risks with a drug that is used to tranquilise horses. But astudy has thrown up a question on whether its classification is correct.
Its great attraction is cost: at £20 a gramme, it is halfthe price of cocaine.
Aware of its growing use, in 2006 the government madeketamine a Class C drug, but DrugScope believes this has had little effect onits popularity or availability.
Ketamine can be snorted, but injection is becoming morecommon as users experiment with higher doses and run the risk of spreadingblood-borne viruses such as hepatitis C or HIV. Cystitis also seems to be acommon side-effect, according to the Journal of Medical Case Reports.
In 2007, The Lancet published the findings of a study into20 drugs.
All the indicators – the potential for dependence, physicaland social harms – suggested that ketamine was a far more dangerous drug thancannabis, or ecstasy come to that.
Class C ketamine came in at number six while cannabis, whichis currently subject to a re-classification from C to B, trailed at 11.
Much has been written about the effects, harmful orotherwise, of cannabis and ecstasy as the reclassification process gets underway.
But expert evidence suggests that, if the government wantsto be seen as being hard on (soft) drugs, it could perhaps start with ketamine.
Or at least launch a public education programme.