By Trinka Porrata Edited August 9, 2002
Abuse of ketamine (pronounced Kee-ta-meen) goes hand in hand with gamma hydroxy butyrate (GHB) and MDMA (Ecstasy). Where you find one, you will likely find the others. All three are very popular with the RAVE party crowd. Ketamine hcl, a cat tranquilizer and the most commonly used anesthetic in the Vietnam War, is also used in sexual assault on occasion since it puts the victim in a frozen state for at least a brief period of time. It was big in the 70's with New Age types like Dr. John Lilly (the model for the William Hurt character in the movie Altered States) and Timothy Leary.
Ketamine comes in injectable form, liquid, for legitimate use. It is most commonly dried (oven or microwave or air). The crusty residue is ground to a fine powder and is then most commonly inhaled.
In order for a vial of ketamine to be in an abuser's hand, someone has already smuggled it in from Mexico or robbed or burglarized a vet clinic or pharmacy, or in some other manner diverted the product for illicit use. In spite of that fact, when ketamine was made a Schedule III Controlled Substance in California, it was specifically exempted from possession charges under 11377 H&S. While it is a chemical analog of PCP and would appear at first glance to be a mere possession charge (again, 11377) under the analog section, it was specifically excluded. It was just a 4060 B&P Code section misdemeanor for mere possession (of a controlled substance without a prescription) until January 1999. In 1998 legislation was introduced to make it a felony for mere possession. That effort fell short, resulting only in making it an H&S misdemeanor.
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