Ketamine (K)

Ketamine Chemical make up

Ketamine, also known as Ket, K or Special K is a powerful anaesthetic which can stop you feeling pain. It comes in a powder or liquid form.
If snorted it can take between 5-15 minutes to kick-in and if swallowed it can take between 15-25 minutes. The effects can last between 45 minutes and 2 hours but this will depend on how much you take and how you take it.

Ketamine can make you feel detached from reality, as though you are separated from your body and mind. You may experience hallucinations and it can make you lose the ability to move. This is known as a k-hole. Some people find this experience fun, others find it can be scary.
Due to the dreamlike state it puts users in ketamine has been used as a “date rape” drug. It can cause hallucinations and a “trip” can last from half an hour to several hours.


If you’re under the influence of K you could be vulnerable to others who may take advantage of you sexually.

You might feel confused, agitated or experience panic attacks which could make you vulnerable in an unfamiliar environment.

Short term effects include:

  • Short term memory loss.
  • Paranoia, especially with frequent use.
  • Paralysis.
  • Experiencing scary hallucinations.
  • Stomach Cramps

Ketamine can also cause serious bladder problems in regular users. They can have trouble passing urine and when they do it can be painful. In some cases, the damage to the bladder is so bad it has to be removed by surgery. The urinary tract from the kidneys down to the bladder can also be affected badly.

8 Tips to Reduce the Harms

The best way to keep yourself safe is to avoid drugs completely. But if you are using ketamine, there are some simple steps you can take to lower the risks.

  • Make sure you are in a good mental state before using ketamine. If you are already feeling down or anxious, it can exaggerate these feelings and give you a bad experience.
  • It can be difficult to move around after using ketamine so make sure that you are in a safe environment to avoid any injuries.Avoid using alone. Have a trusted friend that isn’t using with you so that they can make sure you’re staying safe.
  • Avoid eating food 90 minutes before taking ketamine to reduce the likelihood of nausea and vomiting.
  • Don’t use or share banknotes to snort ketamine. They can spread infections and viruses. Use equipment like a straw and keep it to yourself.
  • You can never be sure what your bag contains or is mixed with. Make sure it is finely crushed and take small amounts. Alternate nostrils and give it time to kick in before taking any more.
  • If your friend is feeling panicked or anxious, take them to one side and keep them calm.
  • If your friend ends up unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, call an ambulance. Then, put them in the recovery position – it could save their life. Here’s a quick guide to the recovery position. If you don’t remember, get them onto their side – even this can make a real difference.

Support and Services

If you are worried about your relationship with ketamine, it is important to reach out. There are a number of non-judgemental friendly services who can help.

The Switchboard Ireland
Outhouse, 105 Capel St, Dublin 1.
The Switchboard Ireland is Ireland’s longest running support service for the LGBT+ community. LGBT+ volunteers are available 7 days a week on phone, email and online chat to offer confidential listening, support and information. Thursdays: Substance Abuse, Chems, Narcotics, Alcohol 6:30pm – 9pm.

Phone 01 872 1055
Contact: WhatsApp @ 089 26 74 777
Email: for support & signpost by email for other questions

The MPOWER team of peer sexual health outreach workers offer information, support and resources relating to HIV, STIs and other sexual health & wellbeing needs. The team is available to speak to you by phone, email, WhatsApp, and Zoom.

Phone 01-8733799 and ask for the MPOWER Team (Mon-Fri 10am – 5pm)
Whatsapp on 086 065 7212 (Davy), 0866002996 (Mark), 0892291869 (Diego)

Sexual Health Centre Cork
Sexual Health Centre Cork offer the services of a dedicated Sexual Health Advisor to members of LGBTQIA+ community. Aaron O’Sullivan provides sexual health advice and support in an understanding and warm environment, on a wide range of matters such as healthy relationships, sexuality, sexual dysfunction, gender and sexual identity.

You can make an appointment by sending an email to, calling the Sexual Health Centre on 021 427 5837 or contacting Aaron directly at

Visit the National Directory of Drugs and Alcohol Services and find a local service to help you

Drugs helpline: Freefone 1800 459 459

Further information & services at

or from the drugs helpline: Freefone 1800 459 459

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