August 12, 1974


Author Affiliations

St. Petersburg, Fla

JAMA. 1974;229(7):763. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230450013004

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To the Editor.—  Ketamine is an injectable anesthetic familiar to anesthesiologists and surgeons for several years, but it may not be so to many other practitioners, especially in its new identity as a street psychedelic of abuse. On the west coast of Florida, emergency departments and free clinics have recently been receiving numbers of "overdose" patients who are "snorting" the drug or ingesting it orally. In the first week of June 1974, thirteen of 33 unknown street drug samples presented to the Drug Analysis Project of the Clearwater Free Clinic were found to contain ketamine when analyzed by thinlayer chromatography.The ability of ketamine to produce "emergence phenomena" or hallucinations is no doubt the reason for its appearance as a street psychedelic. Another side effect will reveal its identity to the alert observer of the patient. A fine to coarse horizontal nystagmus is present, and disconjugate eye movements may be