Ketamine Is an Essential Medicine, Says Anesthesiologists

There's a new campaign to remind people of the painkiller's medicinal purposes.

Carlton Férment

The World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists (WFSA) has demanded that ketamine, the tranquilizer most famous for its use on horses, should not be placed under United Nations illicit drug restrictions, as it's an essential medicine.

"Ketamine is an essential anesthetic and painkiller, especially in countries with limited options and poor storage facilities in their hospitals," said WFSA president Dr. Jannicke Mellin-Olsen. "Of course, there are legitimate concerns about ketamine abuse, and these shouldn't be discounted. However, it also needs to be recognized that there is little to no evidence that abuse occurs in countries where it is the most essential anesthetic."

Ketamine also has useful, unique properties in helping post-surgery dizziness and chronic pain. (It does, too, have unique properties in helping your friend's little brother sit curled up in a ball on a sofa at a house party, thinking he's been talking to himself in the mirror for 40 minutes when he's actually just being ignored by everyone doing cocaine off a cutting board in the kitchen.)

China and some other nations want ketamine to be placed under the same restrictions as morphine, but this could have a massively detrimental effect on the safety of surgical procedures in nations without fully developed medical treatments. The World Health Organization has reviewed the drug a number of times since 2004 and regularly concludes that any international regulation would have a devastating effect. A "Ketamine Is Medicine" campaign has recently been launched.

Read: Kenya's Growing Ketamine Problem

Via Wikipedia user Coaster 420