The University of Arizona

History, Pharmacology, and Prevalence
Overview of Various Other Illicit Drugs:

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that is currently used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine.  The ketamine sold on streets most typically comes from veterinarians’ offices.  It is manufactured as an injectable liquid, but for illicit use it is usually evaporated to form a powder that is snorted or compressed into pills.[1]

The mechanism of action and effects of ketamine are similar to those of PCP.  However, ketamine is less potent than PCP and has a much shorter duration of effects.  Ketamine is odorless and tasteless, making it easy to slip in a drink.   In addition, it induces amnesia.  As a result, ketamine is sometimes used in facilitating sexual assault.[1] 

Street names for ketamine include vitamin K, lady K, black hole, bump, and kit kat.



  • (1) NIDA. Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs. Rockville, MD; 2001 Mar.


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