Ketamine harm reduction information
It is always safer not to use at all and all use has risk. If you choose to use ketamine, consider the below information to help to reduce the harms.
- You can’t be sure of the contents or dose:the potency may vary even from the same batch/supplier. The new psychoative substance Fluorodeschloroketamine has been recently found in powders in Ireland.
- Each person will react differently to drugs.
- Think about the type of drug: in this case it can cause dissociation and psychedelic experiences, but remember that you can't be fully sure of the contents or dose. Try to measure how much you will use in advance to avoid taking too much.
- Think about your ‘set’: how you’re feeling both mentally and physically. Avoid use if you feel low, anxious, depressed or if you have mental health concerns. Using drugs through hard times to cope can impact on your long term coping mechanisms.
- Think about your setting: this means where you are, if it is busy/loud and who you are with. If you are in a new or unfamiliar environment you may have a different reaction.
- Avoid use in risky settings: ketamine can affect your balance and coordination — only take it in a safe space avoiding dangers such as water (including rivers and lakes) roadways etc.
- Eat at least two hours before taking
- COVID concerns: remember to clean down any surfaces, wash your hands and consider the risk of COVID-19.
- Avoid using off unclean surfaces: such as toilet seats, public counter tops etc.
- Start with a very small amount first to see how you react: You should feel the effects within a few minutes but this can vary. Use this time to judge if you want to continue using.
- Only take the amount you want to use at that time with you. This helps you taking more than expected.
- Avoid using with other substances including with alcohol and prescription medication. Drugs affect people differently and mixing different drugs can lead to unpredictable harmful and unpleasant effects.
- Ketamine and alcohol used together can increase the risk of vomiting/being unwell. It can also impact on balance and slow down your breathing.
- Ketamine used with stimulants can increase internal strain on your heart. Cocaine can dull the effects of ketamine which could cause you take more of each drug to get the desired effect. This won’t improve your experience but will increase the risk to your health.
- Mixing ketamine with other drugs that produce a psychedelic effect: this includes using with MDMA, nitrous oxide, cannabis, mushrooms and LSD and can lead to an increased experience in a way that may feel overwhelming and hard for you to manage.
- If you are having negative mental health or feel unwell: Let someone know that is with you.
- Place anyone unwell in the recovery position or on their side. This is to prevent choking if they vomit.
- Don’t get in bath to reduce stomach cramps: you risk falling asleep
- Reduce the amount you use and how often. Frequent use can lead to developing a tolerance. Emerging evidence also suggests that heavy and frequent use can lead to urinary and bladder damage. Take breaks between use.
- If placing in a drink: make sure that no one else is at risk of consuming.
- If snorting: grind powders and don't use bank notes to snort. Use rolled up card or a small straw.
- Avoid sharing snorters: sharing tools can spread infections and blood borne viruses (e.g. hepatitis C, HIV). Get tested regularly for BBVs.
- Look out for the signs of urinary/bladder concerns:This includes pain, difficulty urinating, frequently urinating and blood in urine. Don’t be afraid to discuss these symptoms with a health professional and let them know if you feel they are as a result of ketamine use.
- Look out for the signs of an overdose and don’t be afraid to get medical help by calling 999/112: confusion, unconsciousness (won’t wake up), severe nausea and vomiting, fitting, difficulty breathing, snoring/raspy breathing, blue/pale tingeing of knees, hands and lips, slow or erratic pulse (heartbeat), pale, cold and clammy skin.
Get more information about ketamine here.
Download the Club Drug Wheel here.
Get harm reduction for other substances here.