Home » The Real Deal on Drugs » What’s the ‘k-hole’?

What’s the ‘k-hole’?

Some of my friends are using something called ‘ket’ and keep talking about the ‘k-hole’. It’s quite confusing because some of them say it’s a good thing and I have one mate who said it was so scary he’s never taking the drug again.” 

A ‘k-hole’ is a term used to describe the state of dissociation a person experiences after using ketamine (or ‘ket’ as it is often called today). Trying to define the k-hole is difficult because, as you say, it can mean different things to different people. To some it’s seen as a ‘positive’ experience, in fact it’s the state they want to achieve when they use the drug. For others, it’s regarded as a dark and frightening place you can go to when you’ve taken too much.

Ketamine is an anaesthetic used in both human and veterinary surgery. Although it’s often referred to as a ‘horse tranquilizer’, Australian vets are more likely to use it when working with cats and dogs. It’s also now used to help treat a wide range of disorders, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain.

It’s a dissociative drug, which means that when used, the mind leaves the body causing an ‘out-of-body’ experience. In very small doses a person may feel disoriented and unsteady on their feet. When more is taken they experience hallucinogenic effects, e.g., music may sound different and lights may appear more intense. Take more and they can find themselves in a dissociated state, finding it difficult to relate to their environment and unable to interact and communicate with others around them.

Those who are seeking this sensation of being separate from their body often describe the initial feeling as though they’re being transported or teleported to other places. Some report zooming through tunnels or computer networks, travelling on rollercoasters or being swept through a sewer at great speed. Others have the sensation of ‘melting’ into their surroundings. It’s often described as a ‘life-changing’ or ‘spiritual’ experience’ by this group.

Others who’ve visited the k-hole, however, compare it to a ‘near-death experience’ (NDE). There’s a real sense that what is being experienced is real and that they are actually dead or dying. With their sense of time being affected, as well as their inability to control their own body or communicate effectively with those around them, for these people this dissociated state can just be too overwhelming. As a result, many people who have this experience never use the drug again.

Most importantly, there’s a real risk of injury whilst being in this state. Over the years, the drug has been reported as a contributing factor in a range of fatal accidents, such as falls, burns and drownings. In addition, when in a k-hole, it may also not be possible to tell those around you if you’re in distress or need help.

Increasing numbers of young people appear to be experimenting with ketamine. It’s true that it’s regarded as a comparatively ‘safe’ drug when used by trained medical professionals, however, when it’s misused there are a range of things can go wrong. Take too much and you can find yourself in a place that some people find truly terrifying.

First published: August 2016
Reviewed and updated: April 2024

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

Looking for information or support services on alcohol or drugs?

If you or a friend or family member needs assistance in this area, Alcohol and Drug Information Services (ADIS) are available in every state and territory. Each of these are each staffed by trained professionals who can help with your query and provide confidential advice or refer you to an appropriate service in your area.

Scroll to Top