Ketamine: The Good, Bad, and Underreported


A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine tested the prevalence of ketamine use among EDM partygoers. The results they came up with when examining self-reported used and detection in hair samples is surprising.

The Study

As we are all accustomed to, electronic dance parties are a cesspool of recreational drugs and a good time. At a particular party for this study, nearly 37% of attendees tested positive for ketamine in their hair. Only 14.7% of them had disclosed they even used the drug. This begs the question: why are the numbers different?

In truth, researchers noted that K is immensely underreported and attendees could be unintentionally exposed to it. We know frequenters of EDM parties succumb to higher levels of recreational drug use and are at high risk for unknown exposure. When MDMA is out, the combination for other drugs is endless.

“Since it is unlikely that someone would disclose the use of drugs such as ecstasy and intentionally not report using ketamine, we believe many cases of positive detection may be due to unknown exposure through the use of adulterated drugs.” – Joseph Palamar, PhD, MPH, affiliated researcher

What The Results Suggest

Palamar also states that people who use ecstasy or other synthetic drugs are more likely to be exposed to ketamine without realizing it. We’ve heard the good, the bad, and the ugly with Special K. Though, with the amount of dangerous substances out there, it may benefit us to do more research on the good.

For example, ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic with a long time use in operating rooms. The FDA approved it in 2019 for treating depression in the form of nasal spray. With its long history and adulterated reputation as a hallucinogen and inhibitor, it can be hard to dissociate the stigma.

To all our EDM family out there, stay safe and know your limits. It’s ok to let the right authority know how to treat you.