Club scene 'special K' drug to be outlawed

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Ketamine, a horse tranquilliser that has become increasingly popular among club-goers, is to be made illegal and classified as a class C drug from 1 January.

Drug workers have become increasingly concerned over the rising use of ketamine on the dance scene. It is currently a legal product used by vets but will now be subject to strict controls in order to limit its use.

Paul Goggins, a Home Office minister, said: "Ketamine presents serious health risks and must be subject to strict controls to provide a deterrent to those seeking to import and supply the drug."

A survey by the charity DrugScope earlier this year found that ketamine was available in eight of the 15 towns and cities visited by researchers. It had not been on sale in any of the same places the previous year.

The drug, also known as special K and tekno smack, costs £15 to £40 a gram. Doses of 100mg lead to energy rushes, but higher doses can trigger hallucinations known as K-holes. Other side effects include temporary paralysis and speech loss.

Other drug law changes coming into force on New Year's Day will see dealers who sell drugs near schools or use children as couriers facing stiffer penalties.