Below are some known users of ketamine; some positioned right in the public eye, some less so. Mentalist extraordinaire award must go to Dr. John Lilly (see below). While users of ketamine and its associated compounds are well-known for their chaotic natures, this legend stands head and shoulders above the rest due to the long-term extremes he was willing to take with his own body and mind.
Abusers and users of ketamine
Amy Winehouse (UK)
In August 2007 this popular British singer cancelled several shows in the UK and Europe, citing both exhaustion and ill health. She checked into a hospital during this period due to an alleged overdose of heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol. Winehouse told a magazine that drugs were to blame for her ill health and that she “…really thought that it was over for me then”.
Dr. John Lilly (USA)
The respected scientist and psychedelic self-experimenter John Lilly was a heavy user of ketamine for a great many years, famously injecting himself with ketamine once an hour for several consecutive months “without significant difficulties”. He played a significant role in bringing ketamine to public attention, reporting his contacts with the ‘Earth Coincidence Control Office’ and his resulting insights into matters metaphysical via speaking engagements and several books. While his longevity (he died aged 86) has been considered by some to be evidence of k’s relative safety, it must be noted that Lilly enjoyed several lucky escapes from disaster, for example being found (nearly drowned) floating face down in his swimming pool. He came from a wealthy background and was a well regarded scientist, so often had employees and colleagues in residence, a factor which greatly improved his chances of rescue. Several of Lilly’s associates in k experimentation were less fortunate, however, resulting in several accidents and mortalities.
Gary Frisch (USA)
In 2007, Frisch (co-founder of the massive ‘Gaydar’ dating site) leapt from an eighth-floor balcony after spending the night bingeing on k. A friend present at the time spoke of him “babbling incoherently”, before walking onto the balcony, shouting “wheee” as he stepped off the balcony toward his doom.
Kate Moss (UK)
The British supermodel (and ex-girlfriend of Pete Doherty) has been reported by various sources to indulge in k. A witness to alleged use in a London apartment reported that;
While we were in the kitchen, Kate got a white, over-sized dinner plate and put it under the grill to heat it up. I asked her what she was doing and she said, “It’s for the Special K”. I knew that meant ketamine. Once the plate was warm enough, she took it from under the grill, opened a packet up and poured this white powder on to the plate. She was saying how the warm plate helped fluff up the ketamine and made it easier to snort. She said it was what you do with Special K … She used a credit card to cut up the powder and then they snorted it with a straw. She definitely knew what she was doing. She hoovered hers up first. She was quite greedy about it. She was like a machine. Once she had snorted the line, she wiped her nose and started jumping around the room like a mad woman … She was going on about Special K, saying how great it was. She said she had done a lot of it. She also said it was a great drug to mix with cocaine but said you had to be careful, because if you had too much you could hallucinate. She said she once did too much ketamine and started tripping out. She said she started seeing things and it scared her.”
From a 1998 ‘Muzik’ article; “Madonna once commented that she couldn’t believe UK clubbers still preferred E to K.”
Noel Fielding (UK)
One-half of the popular British comedy duo ‘The Mighty Boosh’, Fielding was quoted in an interview;
A lot of people do (ketamine) now instead of cocaine. It’s more popular among young kids, which is very scary because it’s a horse tranquilliser …When I took ketamine everything turned into two dimensions and I felt like I was in a weird puppet show. I decided I wouldn’t do that again. I don’t understand it at all.”
Norman Cook (UK)
Famous for DJing as Fatboy Slim, Cook was quoted in 1998;
Get the quantity right and it’s incredible. Get it wrong and you feel like you’re dying.”
Pete Doherty (UK)
Babyshambles front man Pete Doherty was captured on camera by the press taking a mix of cocaine and ketamine (known as CK1) in January 2007. He also pleaded guilty to possessing crack cocaine, heroin, cannabis and ketamine, after his car was stopped by police in May 2007.
Dr. Salvador Roquet (Mexico)
Although it is not known whether he ever tried the drug personally, this (totally irresponsible) Mexican psychiatrist decided that inducing harrowing experiences with psychedelics would be of benefit to those in his care. To this end, Roquet variously included ketamine, LSD, psilocybin, mescaline and datura in his ‘treatments’, subjecting his patients to a barrage of negative stimuli (for example dosing Jews on LSD before making them listen to recordings of Hitler’s speeches). Roquet has been described as ‘a pusher of death’ and ‘a master of bad trips’.
Shion (South Korea)
Korean pop singer Shion (real name: Pak Yuka) was arrested in 2010 for the possession of just 0.003g of ketamine(!), after police searched her home in relation to a separate incident. On entering the property the police discovered “a straw and a plastic bag containing the drug … beneath her pillow and in a trashcan”.
Timothy Leary (USA)
The notorious psychologist and advocate of LSD and other forms of consciousness expansion spent some time exploring the k hole. He later used ketamine as part of his ‘designer dying’ process, preparing himself for his imminent death from prostate cancer.