We recognise that some students will choose to use ketamine despite knowing the dangers that go along with it. Our hope is that those who do choose to use it are given the opportunity to make an informed decision and know how to reduce some of the risks associated with drug taking.
What’s it all about?
Ketamine is classed as a dissociative on the Drugs Wheel (Meaning it distorts the user’s experience of sights, sound, and touch as well as perspective on time and reality).
Most people choose to snort ketamine, but it can also be swallowed or injected.
Low doses can give the user a sense of euphoria, calmness, and an enhanced sense of connection with people and things, but bigger doses increase the likelihood of having a more negative experience, such as K-holing.
“Falling into a K-hole" means the user has used a high dose of ketamine (this will vary depending on tolerance) and the user is no longer able to control movement of the body and the awareness of the world around them can become impaired – unfortunately people in this state can be vulnerable to sexual assaults, muggings or hyperthermia from passing-out outside on a cold night.
What are the dangers?
Whilst using ketamine on its own does have its risks, most people who die or end up in hospital from using ketamine have combined it with another substance.
Ketamine + Depressants like alcohol, GHB or benzos can have a rapid and unexpected effect, resulting in falling unconscious, slowing or stopping the breathing and chocking on vomit.
Ketamine + Stimulants like cocaine or MDMA will add more strain on the heart, some users report increased anxiety or an inability to judge risks like how far away a car is when crossing the road or how high a wall is when jumping off.
Ketamine bladder, in recent years it has been discovered that ketamine can cause irreversible damage to the lining of the bladder and in severe cases people have had their bladder removed and a catheter is used to remove urine from the body.
Whilst that all sounds very scary, if you are experiencing difficulties urinating or bladder discomfort from using ketamine, most people find if they stop using ketamine early on in this process their body can heal itself without serious medical intervention.
If you’re concerned about your bladder due to your ketamine use, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
What can I do to stay safe on the sesh?
Set as in “mind-set” and setting as in “environment” is something to consider with any drug including alcohol that you are planning to take.
If you're in a bad headspace or you are under a lot of stress this will affect the experience, you have. Using any substance to escape feeling bad can result in the user not being able to control how much they use, and it doesn’t always work how they intended it to, sometimes it can intensify the feelings they had making things feel worse.
Use in a safe environment with people you trust. Many people consider trying a new drug at a festival, this can be a really challenging environment – loud music, thousands of people and the only safe space being behind a piece of material (a tent) can be really overwhelming and can be a factor in some people having a bad experience on trippy drugs like ketamine.
Start low, go slow.
Starting with a small amount, especially with a new batch. Remember just because someone has offered you a line – you don’t need to do the whole lot, everyone's tolerance will vary and what suits someone else might not suit you.
Allow plenty of time before redosing, it can take up to 30 minutes to feel the full effects.
Drugs and me offer a compressive guide to dosing and how quickly the effects will start and last!
Test before you ingest – just because it looks like ketamine doesn’t mean it is... using a reagent test can tell you if its ketamine or not – and if it’s a more potent substance like methoxetamine
If you would like to learn more about reducing the risks when taking drugs or would like support to make changes to your drug use, you can book at an appointment with UWE’s Drug & Alcohol Practitioner by calling the Wellbeing Service and asking for a drug & alcohol appointment, these appointments are non-judgemental and confidential.
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