Special K (no, not the breakfast cereal)
Ketamine, a drug used to tranquilize horses has been taking its toll among youngsters, particularly in Hong Kong, where a young girl died after consuming a ridiculous amount of the drug during a ‘drug contest’ to see who could consume the most and make RMB500.
If you've seen the video, which is on YouTube, you know what a ‘ridiculous amount’ means; if you didn't, just imagine a ketamine line almost two meters long.
Ketamine has a wide range of effects on humans, including analgesia, anaesthesia, hallucinations, elevated blood pressure, and bronchi dilation. Ketamine is primarily used for the induction and maintenance of general anaesthesia, usually combined with some sedative drug. Other uses include sedation in intensive care, analgesia, particularly in emergency medicine and treatment of bronchi spasm. It is also a popular anaesthetic in veterinary medicine. (Wikipedia)
Nicknamed Special K, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, Keller, Super Acid or Super C by users, ketamine can be taken in a powder, liquid or tablet form but is often mixed with other drugs or alcohol, which increases its deadly effects.
The effect of the drug depends on the dose, although just a small amount is enough to cause irreparable damage. According to some specialists, with low doses, party-goers may feel euphoric; have psychedelic experiences and lots of energy.
But in the quest for extreme sensations, high doses might plunge the user into an out-of-body or near-death experience known as the ‘K-hole’, the ultimate ketamine high, where perception of the body, time and reality is severely altered.
Why do they use such a mind-altering drug? Is it the new ‘candy’ of the youth?
Top reasons people under 21 take drugs in Hong Kong, according to a study made in 2008 says that peer pressure (64 percent), curiosity (45 percent) and relief of boredom, stress, depression (44 percent) are decisive factors in experimenting and use of drugs.
In addition, the emergence of ketamine on the synthetic drug scene has gone unnoticed in many parts of the world because, unlike illicit drugs, the trade in ketamine is not internationally controlled.
Drugs have been around for thousands of years, and nowadays there is more information on drugs, its types and consequences, thus the problem is not lack of information. So, what is it?
MDTimes spoke with the Association of Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers of Macau's (ARTM) president a while ago and tried to shed some light on the issue.
Poor relationship with parents, lack of healthy alternatives and public spaces, are among the top reasons.
Ketamine is easy to find (either in Hong Kong, across the Macau border or in Macau) and they want to use it. Just like other generations did with marijuana, LSD or cocaine; it's there and everyone's doing it. Is it a cultural thing just like marijuana was in the 1970’s? Everyone hopes not.