Ketamine use linked to memory problems
Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Regular use of the drug Ketamine has been linked with memory problems, according to scientists.
A study, carried out by The University College London involved 120 participants who took part in a number of memory and psychological tests.
The results indicate that frequent users of Ketamine have problems with skills such as recalling names, conversations and patterns.
There is also evidence that Ketamine can lead to kidney and bladder damage.
The researchers and the charity Drugscope have said that all users of Ketamine should be aware of the risks.
Ketamine, a class C drug, is a stimulant popular with clubbers as it induces hallucinations and is around half the price of cocaine.
The study split the participants into five distinct groups; those who take the drug on a daily basis, those who took is once or twice a month, former users, those who used other drugs and those who did not take drugs.
They were asked to complete a number of questionnaires and memory tests, which were followed up a year later.
The results of the study showed that frequent users of Ketamine performed significantly worse on the memory test, with some people making double the number of errors.
There study also showed that the performance of those who regularly took the drug became progressively worse over the twelve month period.
There was no significant difference between the other groups, however the questionnaire showed that all groups that took Ketamine displayed unusual beliefs or mild delusions, such as conspiracy theories.
Hair sampling taken from those who take Ketamine once or twice a month, revealed that revealed that their drug use had doubled over the twelve month period. This has raised concerns over the addictiveness of the drug.
Dr Celia Morgan, lead researcher of the study, said: “Ketamine use is increasing faster than any other drug in the UK, particularly among young people, and has now become a mainstream club drug.
“However, many young people who use this drug may be largely unaware of its damaging properties and its potential for addiction.
“We need to ensure that users are informed of the potentially negative consequences of heavy ketamine use.”
Martin Barnes, chief executive of Drugscope, said “It is important that people are aware of the harms associated with the drug and that treatment services are equipped to provide necessary support. ”