Also known as

Ket, K, Special K, Vitamin K, Super K, Ketalar, Ketaset, Wonk, Donkey Dust.


  • Ketamine is described as a dissociative drug; it binds to and blocks receptors in the brain which triggers an anaesthetic effect.
  • Effects are highly dose-dependent. This means the amount taken will strongly determine the extent and type of effect the drug will have.
  • Common effects associated with Ketamine use include euphoria, disorientation, confusion, reduced muscular control and paralysis. Vivid hallucinations and a sense of separation from the body are also commonly reported.
  • Larger doses may induce an experience that is known as ‘K-holing’. This experience is often described as a feeling of detachment from reality as though travelling along a tunnel and heading towards a white light.


Ketamine may be bought as a clear liquid or as white powder/crystals. It is also available in tablet form.

Method of use

  • Ketamine in powder form can be snorted in lines or wrapped in paper and swallowed, (known as ‘bombing’).
  • It can also be swallowed as a tablet.
  • Ketamine can be injected.


  • Ketamine can cause confusion, agitation and powerful hallucinogenic effects which some users find very unpleasant.
  • Its dissociative effects may result in more risky behaviour being taken which may lead to physical injury. As ketamine is able to block pain very effectively, those under the influence of this drug may not be aware of the seriousness of any injuries sustained.
  • Regular use has been linked to severe bladder problems. Frequent trips to the toilet and pain whilst urinating have often been reported. Severe cases have resulted in the surgical removal of the bladder.
  • Abdominal pains, known as ‘K-cramps’, have been associated with long term use.
  • Regular use has been linked to the development of depression.
  • Impairments in short term and long term memory have also been reported.
  • You increase the risk to yourself if you combine ketamine with alcohol or other substances.
  • Sharing injecting or snorting equipment risks infection with Hepatitis C and B viruses, as well as HIV.
  • Snorting ketamine can cause nasal damage.
  • Injecting is dangerous as it is much easier to overdose.

Keeping safe

  • If you choose to use ketamine, then use it in a safe environment and in the company of someone you trust. Ideally, this person will not have used the substance themselves and will be in a position to get help if things go wrong.
  • Take small amounts first to test strength and effects, start low and go slow.
  • Ketamine can be habit forming and tolerance can build up quickly. Don’t use too frequently and take regular breaks.
  • The use of ketamine with other drugs including alcohol should be avoided.
  • If you experience pain in your bladder, then seek medical help and inform them you use ketamine.
  • If you feel depressed or anxious when stopping or reducing your ketamine use, then you are encouraged to seek professional help.
  • Do not share snorting or injecting equipment. If you choose to inject then get safer injecting advice either from us, your local drug agency or nearest needle exchange.
  • If snorting, alternate nostrils and clean your nostrils with warm water to minimise damage.

Legal status

  • In June 2014, ketamine was reclassified from a Class C drug to a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
  • Possession of ketamine could result in a prison sentence of up to five years and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Supplying ketamine to someone else could result in a prison sentence of up to 14 years and/or an unlimited fine.