May 15, 2016


 UN takes no action on ketamine

​Posted May 2, 2016

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, while meeting March 14-22 in Austria, took no action to place ketamine under international control. 

China previously had proposed that the commission place ketamine under schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the most restrictive category. Following input from stakeholders, China recommended to the commission during a March 2015 meeting that ketamine be placed under schedule IV, the least restrictive category. The commission deferred action and asked for additional information from the World Health Organization. 

In September 2015, the WHO asked U.N. member states to complete a questionnaire on ketamine and other drugs in preparation for a November meeting of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. The Food and Drug Administration requested public comments and received more than 1,600, all opposing restriction of ketamine, before completing the questionnaire. The AVMA and many members were among the commenters.

At the November meeting, the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence recommended that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs not place ketamine under international control. Ahead of the March 2016 commission meeting, the AVMA also communicated its concerns directly through the U.S. representative on the commission.

Ketamine currently is a schedule III drug in the United States, and it is uncertain whether international scheduling would impact the U.S. classification.  

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