Ketamine is used as a recreational drug, but also as an anaesthetic in human and veterinary medicine

Ketamine is classed as a dissociative drug, meaning that those that use it can experience effects from relaxation and euphoria to detachment and out of body experiences. Below are some simple techniques you can do, to keep yourself as safe as possible, if you intend on using ketamine.

  1. Research. It’s really important to know what to expect when under the influence of ketamine and what the potential risks are. We would advise to spend at least a couple of hours getting to know the facts. The more you know, the better decisions you will be able to make. You can check out Crew 2000 or Drug Science for more more information, or why not chat to a trained support worker via our Live Webchat Service.
  2. Do not use alone. As with any substance, the general rule of thumb is not to use alone or out of sight of others, and the same is true for ketamine. People can potentially become quite disoriented while under the influence, which could be stressful or scary for some. There may even be the need to seek medical assistance too, so if you do experience any adverse effects, you’d want someone around, ideally ‘sober’, to help you out.
  3. Start Low and Go Slow. When starting a session, take a test dose and wait a couple of hours before taking any more. You can’t tell how potent or toxic your sample may be from just looking at it, or even what is in it. If you are able to get it tested before you use, that would be ideal, but if that’s not available, take your time and start low.
  4. Should I eat before I use? Yes, but make sure you have food at least two hours before you use. The drug can act as an anaesthetic, so if you eat just before, or while it is in your system, it can lead to vomiting. So by planning ahead and eating well before you take your first dose, can minimise the risk of feeling sick or vomiting.
  5. Plan ahead. It is always wise to think about how much you intend to use, where you are going to use and how you are going to end your session safely. Plan your doses beforehand, as your perception of a dose when under the influence may not be accurate and therefore you may take more than you intended.
  6. Think about where you plan to use. Ketamine can impact your coordination and balance. It can also make people feel quite disorientated. So it’s worth thinking about your environment and using in a safe space. Therefore avoid using near sharp objects, water or heat. Ketamine can also affect your perception of pain too, meaning you may not realise how bad an injury you got when under the influence, until the next day.
  7. How are you feeling before you use? If you are feeling quite anxious or nervous, or experiencing poor mental health, ketamine could makes these worse. Therefore your experience could be an unpleasant one while under the influence of ketamine. It might be best to skip using ketamine this time.
  8. Do not mix. Avoid mixing ketamine with other drugs including alcohol. It can lead to you experiencing unpredictable, unwanted and dangerous effects.
  9. Drink water. Stay hydrated as much as you can. Drink around half a pint of water an hour. If you are in a hot environment and dancing away, then maybe a bit more (up to one pint of water an hour).
  10. Don’t share. Avoid sharing any bank notes or other forms of drug taking paraphernalia and only use your own. This also goes for your stash of ketamine too. This can significantly reduce the risk of transmitting any viruses such as hepatitis.
  11. Snorting. If you snort ketamine, ensure you wash and rinse your nose out after each session. Continual snorting of ketamine can lead to nosebleeds or infections. Avoid injecting ketamine.
  12. Think about consent and safe sex. Ketamine can affect your decision making. In the event of where you may have sex, ensure each person involved consents before and during sex. If someone says no, it means no. Also, be prepared. If you do end up having sex, carry contraception such as condoms or dams, to reduce the risk of transmitting and contracting various infections and viruses. Free condoms are available from any of our services. You can also get free home STI testing kits from Frisky Wales.
  13. Look after your mates. If you notice your mate unable to move, asleep or unconscious, put them into the recovery position and regularly check on them, to avoid them choking on their own vomit. If needed, seek medical assistance.
  14. Feeling unwell? Let someone know if you are not feeling well and let them know what you think you have taken and how much. If needed, seek medical assistance.
  15. Take breaks. Regular use of ketamine can lead to you experiencing physical and mental health issues. It could also increase the risk of developing a dependency. Ensure that after every session, you take at least a few weeks off, to give your body plenty of time to recover.
  16. Reach out if you are worried. If you are worried about your own, or a loved one’s ketamine use, get in touch with your local service. Here at Barod, we provide free, confidential support to anyone affected by substance use. You can chat to a trained support worker via our Live Webchat Service too.

For more information on ketamine, why not visit our ‘Through the K-Hole’ campaign page that has a variety of free resources including videos and access to an e-learning module, by clicking here. Watch our ketamine harm reduction video below.