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Intelligence Bulletin: Ketamine

Submitted by spiceland on Mon, 08/16/2021 - 05:16

he trafficking and abuse of ketamine are a concern to law enforcement and drug treatment providers because of the drug's increasing availability and its use in facilitating sexual assaults. Ketamine is frequently smuggled into the country from Mexico and is commonly distributed by Caucasian males, although Mexican criminal groups increasingly distribute the drug.

Ketamine hydrochloride, a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act, is a dissociative anesthetic that has a combination of stimulant, depressant, hallucinogenic, and analgesic properties. Legally used as a preoperative veterinary anesthetic, ketamine is abused for these properties and used to facilitate sexual assault. Common street names for ketamine are K, special K, ket, kit kat, vitamin K, purple, special la coke, cat valium, super acid, super C, lady K, super K, ketaject, and cat tranquilizers.

Distribution of liquid and powdered ketamine typically occurs among friends and acquaintances, most often at raves, nightclubs, and at private parties; street sales of ketamine are rare. Caucasian males between the ages of 17 and 25 are the primary distributors of ketamine, but Mexican criminal groups are increasingly distributing the drug, particularly in the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). Retail quantities of powdered ketamine (100 mg to 200 mg) typically are packaged in small glass vials, small plastic bags, and capsules as well as paper, glassine, or aluminum foil folds. Law enforcement reporting indicates that liquid ketamine can be purchased for $20 to $140 per 10-milliliter vial, while powdered ketamine typically sells for $40 to $100 per gram.

Ketamine is produced commercially in a number of countries including Belgium, China, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, and the United States. Ketamine production is a complex and time-consuming process, making clandestine production impractical. For this reason most of the ketamine illegally distributed in the United States is diverted or stolen from legitimate sources, particularly veterinary clinics, or smuggled into the United States from Mexico.

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