CVMA-ACMV

CVMA Backs WVA’s Stance on Not Restricting Ketamine

April 23, 2015

The World Veterinary Association, of which CVMA is a member, has joined the World Medical Association among others in urging the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs not to restrict the availability of ketamine.

China proposed placing ketamine under schedule I of the international Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the most restrictive category. The Convention establishes an international control system for psychotropic substances. It introduced controls over a number of synthetic drugs according to both their abuse potential and therapeutic value. After pushback, China proposed placing ketamine under schedule IV, the least restrictive category.

The World Health Organization has concluded that ketamine is an essential medicine widely used as an anesthetic and does not pose a substantial enough risk to place it under international controls.

Many countries with abuse problems have introduced national controls on ketamine. In Canada, all offences and penalties associated with Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Acts are applicable to ketamine including: possession, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, importation, exportation, possession for the purpose of exportation, and production.

According to a statement from the World Veterinary Association, “WVA strongly objects to reclassification of ketamine, as this could lead to ketamine no longer being available to veterinary and medical clinicians, especially in remote areas.”

China proposed deferring action on ketamine pending further study at a March 13, 2015 hearing of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.