Special K, Super K, Vitamin K, or just plain K, are all names for the nonanalgesic anesthetic ketamine. Ketamine was first manufactured in 1965. Veterinarians and pediatric surgeons still legally manufacture it, primarily for therapeutic use; recent crackdowns on the illegal distribution of ketamine from these sources have led to the increased smuggling of it from foreign sources. The recreational use of ketamine probably began in the 1960s and was first described in detail by Lilly (1978). Since that time, its popularity has continued to rise (Cooper, 1996; Dotson, Ackerman, & West, 1995; Graeme, 2000).

Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic. As this classification implies, the drug causes a dose-dependent dissociative episode, with feelings of fragmentation, detachment, and what one user has described as "psychic/physical/spiritual scatter." Use of ketamine imparts a disconnection from awareness of stimuli from the general environment. This includes but is not limited to pain.

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