Ketamine should be kept off worldwide illegal drugs list, doctors say
The powerful tranquiliser ketamine should be kept off a worldwide illegal drugs list despite it being abused by clubbers, doctors are arguing.6 Sep 2016
They say it should always be treated as a medicine and not be placed under United Nations illicit drug restrictions The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists is calling for global support for its initiative to protect ketamine's status as an essential medicine for anaesthesia and pain relief.
China and other countries which have a problem with ketamine abuse want the drug included on the UN schedule for controlled drugs.
Dr Jannicke Mellin-Olsen, newly-elected WFSA President, spoke out at the group's World Congress in Hong Kong.
She said: "Ketamine is an essential anaesthetic and painkiller, especially in countries with limited options and poor storage facilities in their hospitals."
Ketamine is used as the sole available safe anaesthetic in many parts of the world and is widely used in adults and children alike.
Experts say it is also easily transported in situations such as disasters, in which vital lifesaving surgery can take place at the scene of the disaster, even outside the hospital.
But China and some other Asian countries, including Thailand, have problems with ketamine abuse. They want access to be restricted in the same way that morphine is a scheduled or controlled substance.
The UN's Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has so far not submitted to their demands. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reviewed ketamine use several times since 2004 when the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) first noted illicit use was a problem and encouraged countries to place the drug under controls.
On each occasion, WHO has repeatedly warned that placing ketamine under international control would devastate access to safe surgery for billions.Share this on: