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NCJ Number: 152074 Find in a Library
Title: Fatal Ketamine Poisoning
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:39  Issue:5  Dated:(September 1994)  Pages:1314-1320
Author(s): M Licata; G Pierini; G Popoli
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 7
Type: Report (Technical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reports on the techniques used to determine death by ketamine overdose.
Abstract: Ketamine is used as a general anesthetic during surgery. It induces sedation, immobility, amnesia, and deep analgesia. In the case reported here, the decedent was an 18-year-old white male, who was found half-laying on the driver's seat of a locked car parked in a remote mountainous and uninhabited area. Three fresh needle marks were found on the inferior/external quadrant of the left buttock. Vials labeled Ketalar were found at the crime scene. In the description of the toxicological analysis, the authors discuss a rapid and effective solid-phase extraction procedure that uses Bond-Elute C18 for ketamine and norketamine detection in biological fluids and tissues with a 75 percent recovery. The drug analysis was conducted by means of gas- chromatography and gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry. The yield of the procedure for ketamine was blood, 27.4 mg/ml; urine, 8.51 mg/ml; bile, 15.2 mg/ml; brain, 3.24 mg/ml; liver, 6.6 mg/ml; and kidney, 3.38 mg/ml. Norketamine was detected in all samples but not quantified. Investigators determined that the victim's death was a homicide for homosexual ends. Considering the high blood level of the drug, the number of needle marks, and the suspect's incomplete personal account of the episode, it is likely that two or more doses of the drug were administered, the last shortly before death. The finding of norketamine in fluids and tissues and the high levels of ketamine in the liver and kidneys led to the conclusion that a long period of time elapsed between the first administration and the victim's death. 1 table, 4 figures, and 22 references
Main Term(s): Science and Technology
Index Term(s): Homicide causes; Poisons and poison analysis; Police specialized training
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