Tranquilliser ketamine will be upgraded to Class B
Ketamine, the horse tranquiliser that has become a popular party drug, is to be upgraded from a class C to a class B banned substance by the Government in an attempt to deter its increasing use.
The drug, also known as Special K, is being reclassified following warnings about its physical and psychological damage. The maximum penalty for unlawful possession will increase from two to five years in jail following reclassification.
The move came as an inquest in Winchester, Hampshire, heard that Ellie Rowe, 18, died after taking the drug at the Boomtown Fair festival in Winchester last summer.
Her father, Anthony Rowe, from Glastonbury, Somerset, said: “It’s an absolute tragedy, it was one act of stupidity and that can destroy a family.”
Originally an anaesthetic used by vets, an estimated 120,000 people in Britain use ketamine. Between one and two per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds are believed to have tried it.
Two months ago, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended the upgrading following evidence that long-term use can cause serious bladder damage and in extreme cases require the organ’s removal.
Announcing the reclassification, the crime prevention minister, Norman Baker, said he hoped to send a message that the drug is harmful. But he also signalled his scepticism over effectiveness of the 40-year-old classification system to control drug use.
Speaking at a drug treatment centre in west London on Wednesday, Mr Baker said: "What I do think is in the short term there's a message that needs to be sent on ketamine. In terms of where we're going in 20 or 30 years’ time, in terms of the optimum method of minimising drug use then I'm not sure.
“It certainly after all hasn't stopped drug use by classification. But what it does do is send a message to those who are interested.
“You have to assume some drug users actually care about their bodies, therefore saying to them this is more dangerous than that, what they will take into account and what they will actually do.”
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Family of man named as 'Jihadi John' described by neighbours as 'normal Muslim family'
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Mohammed Emwazi: Man identified as Isis killer 'Jihadi John' 'stopped by MI5' while on safari holiday in Africa in 2010
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£13000 - £13500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£18000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Long-established Energy Brokers...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...