In a new study conducted by the Journal of General Internal Medicine scientists surveyed New York clubgoers on their drug habits and found use of ketamine was significantly underreported compared to what drug tests showed. In fact, drug analysis among the participants showed the drug's prevalence was nearly three times higher than suggested based on self-reports.
Scientists acknowledge that survey research on drug use is inherently complicated as participants may not want to admit to actually using drugs. In this study, however, participants were generally forthcoming about their use of cocaine and MDMA already, and from that standpoint there doesn't appear to be a reason not to disclose ketamine use as well.
Further inquiry found underreported ketamine use was more statistically associated with testing positive for other drugs such as MDMA. "We believe that a lot of underreported use may be due to partiers being unwittingly exposed," said lead author Joseph Palamar. "This can happen if ketamine is present in drugs purported to be ecstasy or cocaine."
An expert in drug use at the U.K.'s University of York, Ian Hamilton weighed in on the study in a statement to Newsweek. To Hamilton there is a clear takeaway from the research. He stated, "The drugs people think they are taking are either contaminated or don't have the psychoactive ingredients they think they have; this matters as people can react differently to drugs and may combine drugs based on what they think they are consuming rather than what they are actually using."
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H/T: Your EDM