The drumbeat for ketamine as a way to halt the rising suicide rate is upon us, as the New York Times has now joined the chorus. This is encouraging news unless of course you recall a couple of things: how recent enthusiasm from the medical-industrial complex for increased opioid use for pain resulted in the current opioid epidemic; and how the NYT has joined other notorious choruses such as Ahmed Chalabi’s one that sang about WMDs in Iraq.
On November 30, 2018, the NYT published a lengthy op-ed “Can We Stop Suicides?” in which Moises Velasquez-Manoff offers this solution: “an old anesthetic called ketamine that, at low doses, can halt suicidal thoughts almost immediately.”
Similarly, in July 2017, Time magazine (“New Hope for Depression”) announced: “The biggest development has been the rediscovery of a promising, yet fraught, drug called ketamine. It’s best known as a psychedelic club drug that makes people hallucinate, but it may also have the ability to ease depression— and fast.”
Drug companies are pushing for Food and Drug Administration approval of their ketamine-based products for depression. Ketamine, although not currently FDA approved for depression, can be prescribed “off-label” for it. Ketamine is most commonly classified as a “dissociative anesthetic,” and its adverse effects include numbness, depression, amnesia, hallucinations, and potentially fatal respiratory problems. Termed…