About one in five young people between the ages of 18 and 34 years who regularly attend electronic music events took ketamine last year. This is one of the initial results of a project aimed at mapping drug and alcohol use in five European countries, and which De Standaard, Het Belang van Limburg and Het Nieuwsblad were able to consult.
The research shows that ketamine use is gaining ground, along with traditional cocaine (24%), MDMA/XTC (33%) and cannabis (59%). “Ketamine is making an enormous breakthrough,” said Tina Van Havere of the Hogeschool Gent, who is doing research for the Belgian leg of the project. “It’s a phenomenon we had not seen for a long time. A few years ago, there was no mention yet of ketamine use.”
An anaesthetic used in hospitals as well as veterinary medicine, Ketamine is also consumed as a narcotic, mainly by young people, who often refer to it as “Special K”.
The drug makes the user feel as if he is leaving his body. “Its increasing popularity is worrying because ketamine is very unpredictable; consumers risk a near-death experience,” said Ms. Van Havere, adding that mixing it with alcohol was also dangerous.