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Ketamine Laws in Utah

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Ketamine can be used in—and it has been proven to be significantly helpful for—treating major depression and other mental ailments. Many people depend on ketamine treatment to treat their depression and other mental ailments; those people adamantly report that ketamine cured, or significantly improved, their depression or other mental ailments. Despite the proven benefits of ketamine, it is still considered an illegal drug in the State of Utah, and the possession thereof can come with grave consequences.

Ketamine is a sedating drug, and it is considered a schedule three drug in the State of Utah. Also included in the Utah code are ketamine salts, isomers, and salts of isomers, and other names for ketamine, such as ± -2-(2-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)-cyclohexanone.[1]

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) describes ketamine as a short-acting anesthetic with hallucinogenic effects. The street names of ketamine include, but are not limited to, special K, cat valium, kit kat, super acid, super K, purple, special la coke, jet, and vitamin k.[2]

The effects of ketamine can last from 30 to 60 minutes. Ketamine distorts sights and sounds; ketamine induces feelings of calmness, relaxation, and relief from pain; and ketamine causes immobility and amnesia.[3]

The specific effects of ketamine include:

  • General effects: sedation and impaired consciousness;
  • effects on head, ear, eyes, nose, and throat: horizontal, vertical, or rotary nystagmus, mydriasis, and excessive salivation;
  • cardiovascular effects: hypertension, tachycardia, palpitations, arrhythmias, chest pain;
  • abdominal effects: abdominal pain, abdominal tenderness, nausea, and vomiting;
  • neurological effects: altered mental status (disorientation), paranoia, dysphoria, anxiety, confusion, slurred speech, dizziness, ataxia, dysarthria, trismus, muscular rigidity, psychomotor, psychomimetic, and/or acute dystonic reactions;
  • genitourinary (relating to the genital and urinary organs) effects: lower urinary tract symptoms; and
  • effects regarding trauma: a thorough examination for evidence of trauma is needed as injuries secondary to ketamine intoxication can occur due to the diminished perception of pain.[4]

In hospitals, ketamine is usually administered through an IV, but it can also be provided orally. Medicinally, ketamine is used as an anesthetic. Ketamine can also be used as a pain reliever.[5] There are current, ongoing studies that aim to show that ketamine is an effective treatment for major depression, bipolar disorders, and suicidal behavior.[6]

Recreational ketamine is used for its euphoric and dissociative effects; ketamine is sometimes referred to as “k-land”; and at high doses, the immobilizing and hallucinogenic effects of ketamine are referred to as being in the “k-hole.”[7]


The recreational use of ketamine is illegal in Utah. Ketamine is a schedule three drug and, therefore, it is unlawful:

i.          for a person knowingly and intentionally to possess or use a controlled substance analog or a controlled substance, unless it was obtained under a valid prescription or order, directly from a practitioner while acting in the course of the person’s professional practice, or as otherwise authorized by this chapter;

ii.          for an owner, tenant, licensee, or person in control of a building, room, tenement, vehicle, boat, aircraft, or other place knowingly and intentionally to permit them to be occupied by persons unlawfully possessing, using, or distributing controlled substances in any of those locations; or

iii.          for a person knowingly and intentionally to possess an altered or forged prescription or written order for a controlled substance.[8]

In Utah, the possession of ketamine is considered a class B misdemeanor.[9] A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00.[10]

Additionally, one could be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia even if they do not have ketamine on them at that time. Furthermore, regarding drug paraphernalia—which refers to any equipment, product, or material used, or intended for use, to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, package, repackage, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the body—being in possession of drug paraphernalia is punishable by law as well. Drug paraphernalia may include, but is not limited to:

  • scales or balances, used or intended to be use, in weighing or measuring a controlled substance;
  • capsules, envelopes, balloons, or any other container used, or intended for use to package small quantities of a controlled substance; or
  • hypodermic needles, or objects used to ingest, inject, or inhale a controlled substance.[11]

Possession of drug paraphernalia is usually charged as a class A misdemeanor. However, it can also be charged as a class B misdemeanor if the perpetrator places a public advertisement with the intent of selling drug paraphernalia.[12]

A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.00.[13]

In addition to the penalties, a drug charge on one’s record can have greatly detrimental impacts in thins such as finding an apartment or a job.


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[1] Utah Code § 58-37-4.
[2] See
[3] See id.
[4] See
[5] See
[6] See id.
[7] See
[8] Utah Code § 58-37-8(2).
[9] Utah Code § 58-37-8(2)(d).
[10] Utah Code § 76-3-301.
[11] Utah Code § 58-37a-3.
[12] Utah Code § 58-37a-5.
[13] Utah Code § 76-3-203.