Ketamine now a Class B drug: People caught possessing horse tranquiliser face five years in prison
- Ketamine, known as Special K, has been made a Class B banned substance
- Anyone caught possessing drug will be punished with up to five years in jail
- Horse tranquiliser was used by up to 120,000 people last year, say figures
- Achieved notoriety when former Co-op boss was caught trying to buy drug
- Its new Class B status has been accepted by Home Secretary Theresa May
By James Slack, Home Affairs Editor
PUBLISHED: 01:56, 12 February 2014 | UPDATED: 01:57, 12 February 2014
Ketamine, the horse tranquiliser used as a party drug, will today be made a Class B banned substance amid fears it is ruining young people's health.
Anybody caught possessing the drug will be punished with up to five years in jail.
Ketamine, known as Special K, was used by up to 120,000 people last year, according to Home Office figures.
But there is mounting evidence that it is causing huge health damage - with people as young as 20 being forced to have their bladders removed.
In December last year, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said that ketamine should be upgraded from Class C to B.
That recommendation has now been accepted by Home Secretary Theresa May.
Ketamine has been linked to a string of deaths and achieved notoriety when the Reverend Paul Flowers - the disgraced ex-boss of the Co-op bank - was caught trying to buy the drug.
Once the drug is upgraded to Class B, people caught with it in their possession could face up to five years in prison and ketamine dealers could be jailed for up to 14 years.
Other Class B drugs include cannabis, amphetamines, such as speed, and barbiturates.
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