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Ketamine

  • By: M. Scott Young, Eli Kolp & Harris L. Friedman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Ketamine is a prescription medication used by physicians for general anesthesia and by veterinarians for animal tranquilization. Unlike other anesthetics, ketamine does not cause loss of consciousness and produces psychedelic or transpersonal effects. Research supports ketamine's effectiveness for off-label treatment of various pain, mental health, and substance use disorders, and it is the only psychedelic drug that can be legally prescribed by U.S. physicians. While widely used legally, ketamine is also used illegally as a recreational drug. According to the Monitoring the Future data, the annual prevalence of ketamine among eighth, 10th, and 12th graders ranges from 1 percent to 1.5 percent. Unlike most drugs used in medicine and for recreation, the typical recreational dose of ketamine is a small fraction of the dose used ...

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