UN adopts RP proposal curbing use of ketamine
Putting itself in the international limelight again, the Philippines has spearheaded a global effort to regulate the use of ketamine, an anesthetic substance that is fast becoming the favorite of drug addicts.
The United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna has adopted a resolution filed by the Philippines and Thailand, urging the UN members to take steps to prevent the trafficking and use of ketamine.
With the CND’s approval, 20 other countries, including Japan, Malaysia and the United States, expressed their full support for the effort, Philippine Ambassador to Vienna Linglingay Lacanlale said.
The Philippine Embassy in Vienna also serves as the Philippine Mission to the CND, the drug policy-making body within the UN system. It consists of 53 states serving in four-year terms that meet annually.
Under the Philippine-Thailand resolution, the international community is encouraged to develop a system of import-export certificates to guard against diversion and trafficking of ketamine.
Lacanlale said the CND-approved resolution also urged governments to share information on ketamine abuse and trafficking.
The widespread abuse of ketamine in Asia and the Americas has already caught the attention of the International Narcotics Control Board and the World Health Organization.
Ketamine is a general dissociative anesthetic for human and veterinary use. Its excessive use results in severe hallucinations, which make it popular in raves and parties.
First synthesized in 1962, the drug was used on wounded American soldiers during the Vietnam War, but is often avoided now because it can cause unpleasant experiences. It is still used widely in veterinary medicine, and for select human applications.
The increase in illicit use prompted ketamine’s placement in Schedule III of the United States’ Controlled Substance Act in August 1999. In the United Kingdom, it became outlawed and labeled a Class C drug on Jan. 1.
Lacanlale said the Philippine Mission informed the CND that the country was among the first to recognize the dangers posed by the substance.
On July 19, 2005, the Dangerous Drugs Board issued Board Resolution 3 mandating the inclusion of ketamine in the Philippines’ list of dangerous drugs and subjecting it to all regulatory and control measures provided under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).By Ferdinand Fabella