Towards an Explanation of Subjective Ketamine Experiences among Young Injection Drug Users

Department of Pediatrics, University of Southern California, Hollywood, USA.
Addiction Research and Theory (Impact Factor: 1.03). 02/2008; 16(3):273-287. DOI: 10.1080/16066350801983749
Source: PubMed


Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic with powerful sedative and hallucinogenic properties. Despite the wide variability in reported subjective experiences, no study has attempted to describe the particular factors that shape these experiences. This manuscript is based upon a sample of 213 young injection drug users recruited in New York, New Orleans, and Los Angeles with histories of ketamine use. Qualitative interviews focused on specific ketamine events, such as first injection of ketamine, most recent injection of ketamine, and most recent experience sniffing ketamine. Findings indicate that six factors impacted both positive and negative ketamine experiences: polydrug use, drug using history, mode of administration, quantity and quality of ketamine, user group, and setting. Most subjective experiences during any given ketamine event were shaped by a combination of these factors. Additionally, subjective ketamine experiences were particularly influenced by a lifestyle characterized by homelessness and traveling.

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Available from: Stephen E Lankenau, Sep 30, 2014
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    Addiction Research and Theory 01/2008; 16(3):205-207. DOI:10.1080/16066350801983731 · 1.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic that became increasingly popular in the club and rave scene in the 1980s and 1990s. Reports surfaced in the late 1990s indicating that ketamine was being injected in several U.S. cities by young injection drug users (IDUs). Since all studies on ketamine injection were cross-sectional, a longitudinal study was undertaken in 2005 to determine: characteristics of young IDUs who continue to inject ketamine; frequency of ketamine injection over an extended time period; risks associated with ongoing ketamine injection; and environmental factors that impact patterns of ketamine use. Young IDUs aged 16-29 with a history of injecting ketamine (n=101) were recruited from public locations in Los Angeles and followed during a 2-year longitudinal study. A semi-structured instrument captured quantitative and qualitative data on patterns of ketamine injection and other drug use. A statistical model sorted IDUs who completed three or more interviews (n=66) into three groups based upon patterns of ketamine injection at baseline and follow-up. Qualitative analysis focused on detailed case studies within each group. IDUs recruited at baseline were typically in their early 20s, male, heterosexual, white, and homeless. Longitudinal injection trajectories included: "Moderates," who injected ketamine several times per year (n=5); "Occasionals," who injected ketamine approximately once per year (n=21); and "Abstainers," who did not inject any ketamine during follow-up (n=40). Findings suggest that ketamine is infrequently injected compared to other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Most IDUs who begin injecting ketamine will stop or curb use due to: negative or ambivalent experiences associated with ketamine; an inability to find the drug due to declining supply; or maturing out of injecting drugs more generally. Reducing ketamine injection among young IDUs may best be accomplished by targeting particular groups of IDUs identified in this study, such as homeless youth and homeless travellers.
    The International journal on drug policy 02/2010; 21(4):306-14. DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2010.01.007 · 2.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article describes how the drug type injected at the first injection event is related to characteristics of the initiate, risk behaviors at initiation, and future drug-using trajectories. A diverse sample (n=222) of young injection drug users (IDUs) were recruited from public settings in New York, New Orleans, and Los Angeles during 2004 and 2005. The sample was between 16 and 29 years old, and had injected ketamine at least once in the preceding two years. Interview data was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Young IDUs initiated with four primary drug types: heroin (48.6%), methamphetamine (20.3%), ketamine (17.1%), and cocaine (14%). Several variables evidenced statistically significant relationships with drug type: age at injection initiation, level of education, region of initiation, setting, mode of administration, patterns of self-injection, number of drugs ever injected, current housing status, and their hepatitis C virus (HCV) status. Qualitative analyses revealed that rationale for injection initiation and subjective experiences at first injection differed by drug type.
    Journal of drug issues 04/2010; 40(2):241-262. DOI:10.1177/002204261004000201 · 0.38 Impact Factor
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