Ketamine in non-hospital and hospital deaths in New York City

J Forensic Sci. 2000 May;45(3):655-8.


We reviewed all ketamine-positive deaths (87) examined at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner over a two-year period (1997 to 1999). There were 15 non-hospital deaths with 12 due to acute multidrug intoxications, one due to sarcoidosis, and two due to physical injury (blunt and thermal). In no instance was a fatal intoxication caused exclusively by ketamine. Opiates (10/15), followed by amphetamines (7/15) and cocaine (6/15), were the most frequent co-intoxicants. Ethanol was found in only one death. The race of all decedents was white and the majority were men (11/15) between the ages of 18 and 30 years. The remaining 72 instances of positive ketamine findings were hospital deaths following surgical procedures or burns.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anesthetics, Dissociative / poisoning*
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Ketamine / poisoning*
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders


  • Anesthetics, Dissociative
  • Ketamine