Keystone Laboratory administrative offices will be closed on Monday, September 4th to honor and observe Labor Day. We will resume our normal business hours on Tuesday, September 5th.
July 21, 2023
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Ketamine, initially developed as an anesthetic and analgesic medication, is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. In medical settings, it has proven effective for inducing anesthesia, especially in emergency situations or for patients with certain medical conditions. However, in recent years, the recreational use of ketamine has become increasingly prevalent, leading to growing concerns about its potential dangers.
While ketamine’s medical applications have been well-studied and monitored, its off-label use as a party drug and hallucinogen poses significant health risks.
Over the past two decades, ketamine abuse has been on a worrisome rise. While it does serve valuable medical purposes, its misuse for its hallucinogenic and dissociative effects has led to an alarming increase in abuse rates. The recreational use of ketamine, often referred to as “Special K” or “cat Valium,” has become a prevalent issue, exposing countless individuals to its dangers.
According to a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, approximately 11% of the world population used ketamine in 2018. The highest rates of recreational ketamine use and abuse are concentrated in East and Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like China, India, and Thailand. In these regions, ketamine is often referred to as “K” and is popularly used in social settings, such as clubs and parties.
Hong Kong, in particular, witnessed a surge in ketamine abuse from 2007 to 2010, with the drug ranking as the second-most popular substance of abuse. During this period, an alarming 9% of all fatal drug and alcohol-related single-car crashes were attributed to ketamine use, highlighting its devastating consequences.
The United States has not been immune to the rise in ketamine abuse. In 2020, about 1.1 million Americans experimented with hallucinogenic drugs like ketamine for the first time, a trend that raises concerns about potential long-term effects. Besides ketamine, other hallucinogenic drugs, including LSD, PCP, and MDMA, have also seen increased use.
While ketamine abuse remains relatively low compared to other substances, a reported 3 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 25 had tried ketamine in their lifetime as of 2015. Additionally, ketamine is most commonly abused by individuals aged 16 to 25, with the average age of a ketamine abuser being around 31.
Alarmingly, ketamine has also gained notoriety as a date rape drug due to its sedative and memory-altering effects. This sinister use of the drug poses significant risks to personal safety and highlights the urgent need for public awareness and education.
The purity and quality of illicit ketamine vary widely in the unregulated market, making it essential to rely on accurate lab testing. Keystone Laboratories Inc.’s advanced drug testing techniques are crucial in identifying and quantifying ketamine in various samples, ensuring that individuals can make informed decisions regarding its use.
Ketamine users often have underlying issues of substance abuse, making it challenging to ascertain the exact number of people with a ketamine-related substance use disorder. Nevertheless, ketamine abuse, particularly in high doses, significantly increases the risk of developing an addiction. Repeated and prolonged use of ketamine can lead to tolerance, dependence, and a host of physical and psychological side effects.
Those who develop an addiction to ketamine may experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use. Some of these symptoms include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, intense cravings, sweating, chills, loss of appetite, and mood swings.
Keystone Laboratories Inc. employs state-of-the-art testing methods, including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). These advanced techniques allow for accurate identification and quantification of ketamine in various samples, ensuring reliable results.
Lab testing, like the services provided by Keystone Laboratories Inc., plays a crucial role in identifying and quantifying ketamine in various samples. Accurate testing helps users assess the purity and potential contaminants of the substance, enabling informed decision-making and reducing the risk of harm.
Chronic ketamine use can lead to significant bladder and urinary tract damage, resulting in a painful and debilitating condition known as “ketamine bladder syndrome.” The condition may require medical intervention and long-term management.
If you suspect someone you know is struggling with ketamine abuse, it is essential to approach them with empathy and understanding. Encourage them to seek professional help and consider contacting a healthcare provider or addiction treatment center.
Yes, there are numerous resources available for addiction treatment and support. Keystone Laboratories Inc. can provide guidance and direct individuals to appropriate addiction treatment resources. Additionally, organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Helpline for Substance Abuse provide valuable support and information.
Keystone Laboratories, a CAP-accredited North Carolina licensed laboratory and CLIA-licensed lab, is committed to helping you make important decisions that impact the safety and health of your patients with greater confidence. Clients in 48 states can get prescription drug and substance abuse recovery monitoring, specialized testing, workplace drug testing, screening, and program management services from Keystone. Contact Keystone Laboratories today to receive the industry-leading laboratory testing services!