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China has written to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs asking for a worldwide ban on the drug. There are fears that this ban would affect its use as a medical drug since it is widely used in the developing countries as an anesthetic drug. In developing countries, it is a drug that they cannot do without, because it is a simple anesthetic that can be administered as a pill and it does not require extra staff or extra equipment.
In the west, the drug is mostly used for recreational purposes and it is the
fourth most popular drug in the UK. The recreational use of this drug can lead
to the removal of the bladder. It was recently upgraded to a class B drug and
possession of the drugs can get one a five year jail sentence.
Medically, Ketamine is used as a sedative for putting patients to sleep during
surgery, as a pain reliever in some medical tests and procedures and used for
depression on humans.
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The ban on Ketamine has been opposed by many doctors, veterinary doctor and
scientists who see a ban on it as anti-scientific, their fear is that control on the drug would lead to a scarcity of the drug for use and this will make patients suffer.
There has been opposition from the World Health Organization with regards to
the ban on Ketamine, their argument is that it is an important medicine and it
is the only anesthetic that does not cause respiratory depression. It has also
been found to be useful in emergencies, war zones and in carrying out surgical
operations on children. It has been used in the control of patients with chronic pain and it is the most significant innovation in the treatment of resistant depression in the past 40 years. It also produces rapid remission of symptoms in suicidal patients.
If the clinical and research use of Ketamine is stopped, every doctor and
hospital that wants to use the drug will require a special license. The license
costs 6000 pounds and it takes a year or more to get it.
Banning of Ketamine might not stop the recreational use of the drug because
similar bans on heroin and cocaine has not stopped people from misusing the
drug. The United Kingdom’s medical community was able to successfully lobby the
government to successfully reject the 1961 UN recommendation to ban the use of
heroin when lots of other countries went along with it to ban it in their
countries and it was eliminated as a medicine. The patients in the UK benefited
from the use of heroin as a medicine while the patients in the other countries
This ban on Ketamine by the UN should not be allowed to go through because it
will deprive humanity access to the drug as a treatment especially in the areas
of pain control and depression.
In developing countries like Africa, Ketamine is not abused therefore a worldwide ban would make them suffer as they will be the most affected by this decision.