Local News

Triangle Veterinary Clinics Report Attempted Thefts Of Ketamine

Posted October 17, 2002

— Animal tranquilizers could be the latest fad drug on the club scene.

The Animal Hospital in Carrboro has been broken into three times recently. Police said the suspects were trying to get their hands on

ketamine

.

"One of the suspects who tried to break in was still on scene," said Lt. Jim Phillips of the Carrboro Police Department.

Eric Scott McCloskey, 19, was arrested Friday morning after Carrboro police found him outside of a broken window at the hospital. Jeffrey Lee Richardson, 21, was later charged with that break-in, as well as others in June and September.

Veterinarians use ketamine to sedate animals and typically pay $6 per vial. As a club drug, it is used as a hallucinogenic and can fetch as much as $150 on the black market.

"It has, what I've been told, is a disassociative effect. It separates you from reality briefly," Phillips said. "A person might pay $20 or $25 for a hit, then just get a bit from a dropper dropped on their tongue. We've also been told some people will heat the substance and inhale the fumes."

Known by the street names "Special K", "K Hole" and "K High", ketamine has been on the recreational drug scene for nearly 30 years. Over the years, it has become popular on college campuses across the country.

The increase in its use prompted the

United State Drug Enforcement Administration

to designate ketamine as a controlled substance.

"We are well aware that people are out there looking for it and have been told to keep our drugs secure," said Dr. Wally Diehl, a veterinarian.

As a controlled substance, animal clinics now have to account for every drop of the drug used. Ketamine must be locked up in an effort to keep it off the streets.

Several animal clinics around the Triangle have reported an increase in break-ins and attempted ketamine thefts.

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