Psychedelic drug ketamine being hailed a life-saving mental health treatment in Alberta

On the streets, the hallucinogenic drug goes by the names Special K, K, KitKat, Cat Valium, Super Acid, Special La Coke, Purple, Jet, and Vitamin K. Medically, ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic and painkiller, primarily in veterinary surgery, but for some Albertans, the dissociative drug has become a life-saver in their battle against depression and other mental health concerns.

“It’s literally changed my life,” said Cassandra Walker, who has had depression for most of her teens and her entire adult life.

“I went from being that person who couldn’t get out of bed, would wake up in the morning with paralyzing anxiety and I almost couldn’t tell you why.”

The Spruce Grove woman said it’s been a rollercoaster of trying different medications, endless doctors appointments, intense psychotherapy and counselling: “When I was in the thick of it, I was seeing (my therapist) anywhere from one to two times a week.”

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