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Ketamine Category: Dissociative drugs

Ket, K, Special K, Keta, Horse Tranquiliser, Vitamin K

Ketamine is what’s known as a ‘dissociative’ and psychedelic type drug. What this means is that it can make people feel detached from themselves but also experience a ‘trip’.

It is an anaesthetic used in human and veterinary medicine. When used as a recreational drug, it can produce feelings of euphoria, stimulation, relaxation, detachment from oneself as well as psychedelic experiences if used in higher doses.

How it’s used

Ketamine is normally sold as a grainy off white powder. It can also appear in pills and when used medically it comes in liquid form.

In powder form it is snorted, put in drinks or swallowed in paper ‘bombs’. Less often people may swallow or inject. Injecting is extra risky and advised against.

Short-term effects

Drugs effect each person differently. The effects will depend on personal factors such as your physical and mental health,the setting you are in as well as the dose and potency of a substance.

The effects of ketamine are dose dependent. This means that the effects will vary based on how much is taken. Higher dose are associated with more intense dissociative effects.

Long-term effects

Other risks


There may be potential for dependency for some people. People who use ketamine regularly can develop a tolerance, which means that more is needed to get the desired effects.

What support is available?

Find a service here

Call the HSE Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 1800 459 459 Monday - Friday 9:30 am - 5:30 pm. 

Harm reduction Information

It’s safer not to use at all. If you choose to use ketamine, get information to help you reduce the harms here.

Related resources

Download the club drug wheel

See our trends and harm reduction section here

Learn about similar substace MXE







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The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ask students to think about drug safety measures when using club drugs
Harm reduction messages from the #SaferStudentNights campaign.
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