The Ketamine Taskforce mourns the passing of Matthew Perry, a tragedy that has been partially attributed to the use of ketamine outside of an appropriate clinical context. This incident underscores the urgent need for public education on ketamine's role in mental health when used in a medically appropriate setting.
Ketamine, an essential medicine listed by the World Health Organization’s list of top 10 most crucial drugs, has a long history as an effective and well-tolerated anesthetic. It’s used for pediatric anesthesia around the world, on the battlefield by medics and on ambulances. Its emerging role over the past two decades in treating mental health conditions, particularly those resistant to conventional therapies, is supported by extensive research.
We have a mental health and suicide crisis in this country that is not being met by mainstream medications and therapy. Ketamine works better and faster than most traditional antidepressants. Research shows that it can stop suicidal ideation within 1 to 6 doses, with 63% of study participants experiencing resolution of suicidal ideation in 3 days compared with 31.6% in the group that received placebo. Traditional antidepressants can take 6-8 weeks to have a significant effect and even then research suggests they may only be effective in around 1/3rd of patients.
Compared to opioids, ketamine's potential for abuse is considerably lower. Nearly 107,000 deaths from opiate drug overdoses from occurred between 2021 and 2022. Fentanyl caused 74,000 known deaths in the US in 2022. Per the CDC Ketamine caused about 30, usually in combination with other drugs. However, its safety and efficacy are contingent on the safe use under the guidance of trained medical and mental health professionals.
The Ketamine TaskForce is committed to advocating for the safe, clinical use of ketamine, ensuring its role as a beneficial tool in treating mental health and pain conditions. We believe ketamine addresses a crucial gap in mental health care, providing a viable, fast-acting approach to those in dire need. As we confront this tragic loss, we are reminded of the importance of medical supervision and the potential of ketamine, when used correctly, to save lives and alleviate suffering.
About the Ketamine TaskForce:
The Ketamine Task Force is a dedicated non-profit organization, operated entirely by volunteers. Our mission is to promote the responsible use of ketamine in clinical settings, emphasizing its potential in treating various mental health and pain conditions. We focus on enhancing safe care, accessibility, and education regarding ketamine therapy, while also advocating for improved insurance coverage. Serving a diverse group including veterans, first responders, and health professionals, we are committed to raising awareness about the benefits and risks associated with ketamine treatment, ensuring that it remains an accessible and responsibly used option in mental health care.
For further information or to contribute to our cause, please visit https://www.ketaminetaskforce.org/