By Nadine Ramsberg
Last weekend I was approached in a Kingston nightclub toilet by a 20-something girl wondering if I had “got any K?” I could feel her disappointment as I mumbled “no, sorry”, and escaped into the booth.
Britain is widely regarded as the drug capital of Europe.
We’ve moved away from the LSD hippy psychedelia, the 80s’ amphetamine high and from the ecstasy-overflow of the 90s. Today, ketamine is the ‘it’ drug.
Statistics show a rise in the use of ketamine among young people. In 2009, 68 per cent of all clubbers had tried ketamine, an alarming rise from the 25 per cent in 2001.
The most recent British Crime Survey also reported that the number of 16 to 24-year-olds who have tried K in the past four years has doubled. With its escalating popularity, the powder has earned its status as the new ecstasy.
After a year behind the bar of a popular Kingston nightclub, I’m not surprised.
I’ve chatted with the local dealers, seen 18-year-olds in a scary trance on the dance floor and watched girls being escorted out by bouncers after snorting drugs in the ladies’.
I’m staying as far away from the drug scene as physically possible. Personally, I am not only frightened by the thought of exposing my brain and my body to this poison, but I find it unbelievable that alcohol is not enough of a remedy for a good night out.
Clubbers today apparently need to take ketamine, a form of horse tranquillizer, to have a good time. The difference is, as opposed to drinkers, K users don’t just wake up with a hangover, but potentially also a urinary catheter.
K causes severe, often irreparable, damage to the bladder. The drug has also been proved to cause depression and cause psychological trauma. Some argue that a night out on the high can even cost you your information processing abilities and your memory. You may argue that alcohol is just another type of toxin, but – call me a prude – at least it’s legal.
Besides, I do not see why good old Vodka is not fun enough for some. Invite along your good mates Jose Cuervo, Jack Daniel and Captain Morgan, and I believe you’ve got yourself a party.
So how has this dangerous substance become the new zeitgeist drug? What makes it attractive to so many? With rising tuition fees, a job market tougher than ever and an uncertain future, does the tranquillising K work as an anaesthetic for life? It allegedly sends you far away from earthly concerns, to a distant mental horizon.
If you ask me, my life seems pretty worry free after half a bottle of Pinot.