Ketamine addiction is not as impossible as you may believe. Many people say that they have experienced ketamine addiction, and as it has been known to cause tolerance, dependence, and cravings, there does seem to be an argument for the issue. Ketamine abuse and addiction are real problems in our society.
The History of Ketamine
Ketamine was actually developed in 1962 by Parke-Davis “as part of an effort to find a safer anesthetic alternative to phencyclidine (PCP) which caused hallucinations and seizures” (OASAS). Although PCP is a very dangerous drug that can cause addiction, psychosis, and death, ketamine was soon found to have dangers of its own. CESAR states that “In 1970, the federal government approved it for human use, and as a result it soon become popular as a battlefield anesthetic.”
Illicit abuse of the drug was recorded for the first time on the West Coast. “Later, during the late 1970s and early 1980s abuse began to increase across the country.” It started being linked to dance cultures around the mid-1980s. Today, it is still abused in large amounts as a recreational and club drug.
Current Ketamine Abuse Statistics
Ketamine is currently abused for its dissociative properties and is often done so at parties and dance clubs by young people. Although ketamine was abused even when it was first created, and even more heavily abused after that, “use is higher today than when it was first introduced” (CESAR). Some other statistics and facts concerning ketamine abuse are:
- “In 1999, ketamine including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, become a Schedule II non-narcotic substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act” (DOJ). This means that the drug does have the potential for abuse but is still used for medicinal purposes. Because of this, it is illegal to use ketamine without a medical reason, prescription, or as a part of research.
- “According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, individuals aged 12 to 25 accounted for 74 percent of the ketamine emergency department mentions in the United States in 2000” (DOJ).
- Teenagers and young adults are the people who are most susceptible to ketamine abuse and who make up the highest majority of ketamine abusers. “Nearly 3 percent of high school seniors in the United States used the drug at least once in the past year, according to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey” (DOJ 2).
There aren’t many reports on the number of people who are addicted to ketamine. The drug is highly abused, especially now, and abusers do report experiencing dependence, withdrawal, tolerance, and cravings. Those who heavily abuse ketamine are clearly experiencing addiction symptoms, but the rate of ketamine addiction is not as clear. According to the NIDA, “There have been reports of people binging on ketamine,” which is a behavior that is similar to that of cocaine addicts. For those who are likely to become addicted to ketamine, there are several factors that put individuals more at risk:
- Age (as young adults and teens are more likely to abuse the drug)
- The amount of the drug that the person abuses
- The person’s background and family history of addiction or personal history of addiction
Any of these factors may influence a person’s likelihood of becoming addicted to ketamine.