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One of the more unexpected 21st century drug trends has been the increased illicit use of general anaesthetics – a group of drugs which includes ketamine, GHB, nitrous oxide, chloroform and propofol (the drug which allegedly killed Michael Jackson). If the right doses are properly administered - typically by an anaesthetist in a hospital - these drugs induce deep levels of unconsciousness, allowing surgical operations to be performed without pain.
As the quality of ecstasy tablets deteriorated across the 1990s, other ‘dance/party-drugs’ became available – including ketamine, the first general anaesthetic to achieve any popularity in Britain. Users soon discovered that lower doses of anaesthetic drugs like ketamine do not induce full unconsciousness, instead producing euphoria, sedation and/or hallucinogenic effects. Ketamine (K) and phencyclidine (PCP/Angel Dust) are the two most well-known forms of controlled dissociative anaesthetics, though other legal forms include methoxetamine (MXE) and tiletamine (Breakfast Mix).
Ketamine’s effects, described as ‘entering a K-hole’ have been described as more mind-exploding than mind-expanding, while some psychonauts see it as a ‘psychological cul-de-sac’. But ketamine is the only drug to show a consistent rise in the prevalence of last-year use over the last five years of the British Crime Survey. It was estimated that over 200,000 British adults took ketamine in the last year in 2010/11. There is also growing evidence of linked health problems, from mental disorder to bladder disease.
The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the nature and effects of anaesthetic drugs, focusing on ketamine, with the target audience being any professionals or voluntary workers who work with actual or potential users of these drugs.
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You may think addiction is no laughing matter. But being able to laugh and have a sense of humour is
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