Drug workers back Ketamine ban

DRUG workers in Suffolk today welcomed moves to criminalise a tranquilliser whose popularity is rocketing in the underground club scene.Ketamine, which is best known as a horse tranquilliser, will become a Class C drug from January 1.

DRUG workers in Suffolk today welcomed moves to criminalise a tranquilliser whose popularity is rocketing in the underground club scene.

Ketamine, which is best known as a horse tranquilliser, will become a Class C drug from January 1.

The powerful hallucinogen - nicknamed "special K", "tekno smack" and "vitamin K' - is currently legal.

A spokesman for the Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team said: “In Suffolk we have been working for some years to raise awareness of the drug as part of our training and awareness programme. From January 1, our substance misuse workers will be looking to establish evidence on the use and potential harm of this drug.


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“The team is very pleased to see this is being introduced alongside law changes surrounding the dealing of drugs near schools and the use of children as couriers."

In September the charity DrugScope revealed Ketamine was rapidly gaining popularity and had become a significant player in the UK drugs scene.

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Previously a fringe drug in the gay clubbing scene, the charity found it was on sale in eight out of 15 British towns and cities surveyed.

Home Office minister Paul Goggins said: "Although ketamine use is relatively low in the UK, there has been an increase in use by clubbers in recent years.

"Ketamine presents serious health risks and must be subject to strict controls to provide a considerable deterrent to those seeking to import and supply the drug.'

Ketamine was invented in the Parke-Davies laboratories, Michigan, US, in 1962.

Despite its reputation as a veterinary tranquilliser it was used in US field hospitals in the Vietnam war and is still used medically for humans under the brand name Ketalar. Large doses can lead to euphoria and energy rushes and can cause users to descend into hallucinations and alternate realities, nick-named K-holes. Users also commonly experience temporary paralysis and speech loss.

Other drug law changes coming into force on New Year's Day will see dealers who sell drugs near schools or use children as couriers facing stiffer penalties.

Police will also be able to request X-rays or ultrasounds of dealers suspected of swallowing Class A drugs.

The Drugs Act 2005 also increases the maximum amount of time suspected "drug mules' arrested by the police can be held in custody from 96 hours to 192 hours, so the packages can pass through their system.

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