Is Ketamine Abuse The Most Insidious Drug Addiction Of Our Time?
Ketamine is probably one of the strongest party drugs on the market. Obviously I’m not including intense life changing hallucinogenics like DMT or ayahuasca. I’m talking about the standard shit you’d find in your university drug dealer’s munch box like pills, Mandy and maybe the odd tab of acid.
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Widely known as horse tranquiliser (despite being commonly used in place of morphine on children’s wards), Ketamine made its way into the mainstream through the gay clubbing and free party scenes in the 00s and now is used regularly amongst groups of clubbers looking for something a bit trippier than your regular buzzout.
But while most people enjoy this drug on a purely recreational level, saving it for monging out at after parties or a cheeky key in a club, for others it has become a form of escapism. The problem is, once you get past the initial K-holing, this drug becomes an effective tranquiliser and as a result, an efficient dampener of emotions. The father of Nancy Lee, a girl who tragically died at the age of 23 after prolonged ketamine abuse, summed up this issue facing the younger generation of today:
If someone was to design the perfect drug for a teenager who is depressed and doesn’t have much money, this would be it.
There are several factors that point to the idea that ketamine is probably one of the most insidious drug addictions in society today. With a rising issue of mental health issues, depression and anxiety rates amongst young people in the UK have soared by 70% in the last 25 years. Mix this with the numbing side effects of K and its low cost and availability and you’ve got yourself the perfect drug to get kids hooked onto. And as a survey of 10,000 university students has shown, after a brief stint where ketamine was off the market in the UK following a huge drugs bust in China, ketamine is definitely back once again with rates of addiction and recreational use once again on a rapid incline.
Now don’t be fooled into thinking that ketamine addiction is less dangerous as its users are not physically hooked. In fact, I would say that this type of dependency is one of the reasons ketamine abuse is so sinister – the drug creates chemical changes in the brain that cause the user to be emotionally and mentally dependent, making it almost impossible to come back into the real world. This is perhaps why K has been hailed “the heroin of our time.”
To find out a true account of what ketamine addiction is like and its impact not only on health, but also on mental state, Sick Chirpse spoke to ex-ketamine addict Nadia Goodley to find out about her stint with this modern-day heroin:
I was always a party girl when I was growing up. Year 11 onwards I got into pills in a heavy way. Me and my mates used to get on it at every opportunity possible. Luckily I had a fake ID so I used to spend most weekends at Fabric, The End and Turnmills.
I didn’t try ketamine until I was 17 (by this point I’d been doing class As for two years now) and even then I only did a tiny key. Back then K was so strong, it hit me almost instantly. I was buzzing on Mandy at the time and it made me feel fucking invincible. I loved it.
Me and my buddies would experiment with the drug for a couple of years after that, mostly on comedowns. I had the odd horrific K-hole here and there, but the more I did it, the better it started to feel and the less hard it hit me. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I got into this drug in a massive way. I started going out with a DJ who was also a K dealer and so he’d always have a massive bag of it hiding in his cupboard. We used to take it on a daily basis, not really considering what it was doing to our health.
My descent into addiction happened pretty quickly. I was in my second year at university and I was depending on the stuff from morning through to night. I remember during a lecture one of my classmates pulled up his sleeve and wiped my nose, as I had left ket residue from doing a line in the student toilets. After a couple of months of this, my health did start to suffer. One of the standout moments for me was when my boyfriend and I were trying to have a week off of the ket, so we just did a load of coke instead. I remember my nose felt really weird, and when I went into the toilets and stuck my finger up there I felt a click. As I looked at my finger, I realised a piece of cartilage had broken free and what followed was one of the worst nose bleeds of my life. Not long after that night, we were back on the K.
On top of this, our bladders were all fucked. My boyfriend lived with two other guys who were also dependent on K and all four of us had issues with pissing. I used to have to wake up 10 times in the night alone to go for a wee as my bladder had shrunk so much, whereas the other guys were either pissing blood or jelly. It was not a glamorous addiction by any standards.
But I think the worst thing about K addiction is the way it takes over your mind. During the period when this was going on (about a year and a half all in all) I didn’t feel excited about anything aside from K. And even then I didn’t feel excited, more like numb. I can quite honestly say that’s the most depressed I’ve ever felt. I lied, I stole and I hated everything aside from the white powder that was killing me. On top of that, my tolerance had grown so much that by the end I needed about half a gram just to feel anything.
Predictably, my relationship with my boyfriend deteriorated – how long can you maintain something that is centred on drugs? For me it was an escape route and I went cold turkey. But it was tough, I mean really tough. If during that time someone had presented me with a gram, I would have taken it no questions asked. But I was lucky enough to be able to remove myself from the city for a prolonged period of time and slowly adjust my mind back to how it was before I had touched the stuff.
These days I just dread to think what would have happened if me and my ex had carried on. The way it was heading, I would’ve been one of the many unlucky kids who has to have their bladder removed. I wonder if I would even have a job or an education – ketamine’s ability to suck out any drive or passion is uncanny. I no longer think of K as a “party” drug. It’s dangerous and I would recommend anyone who gets on it to either stop, or if you simply think that’s not possible, just be wary of your intake. Ketamine addiction is a slippery slope and one that you don’t want to fall down on.
Harrowing stuff right? We’re really grateful to Nadia for sharing her story and hopefully this serves as a warning about this widespread recreational drug. It’s a lot more sinister than some of the more commonly warned about substances and once addiction takes hold, it can be a massive struggle to claw yourself back out. Don’t make the same mistake Nadia did – not everyone is as lucky as she is to free herself from dependency.
For more stories on ketamine addiction, click HERE.