Driving Under the Influence of Dissociative Anesthetics

Dissociative Anesthetics (PCP, Ketamine) are one of seven categories of drugs that Drug Recognition Experts look for in a driving under the influence evaluation.

This article discusses the effects and signs from use of dissociative anesthetic drugs.

Drug Recognition Experts are officers trained to determine if a driver is impaired by drugs. The Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) looks for signs of drug use and impairment and then makes a guess about which type of drug a person may have used.

The DREs have divided commonly used drugs into seven categories. Each category of drugs produces different side effects and signs of use. The DRE will ask a driver to perform a series of tests, and then performs an evaluation of the driver.

The results of the test are used by the DRE to guess which type of drug a driver used (if they don’t already know from admissions or a search).

The dissociative anesthetic drugs include PCP, Ketamine, and Dextromethorpan.

What Behaviors of Clues Indicate Dissociative Anesthetic Use?

  • Perspiration
  • Cyclic behavior
  • Possibly violent and combative
  • Increased Pain Threshold
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty in speech
  • Blank stare
  • Moon walking
  • Very early angle of HGN on-set
  • Warm to the touch
  • Incomplete verbal response
  • Confused, agitated
  • Chemical odo
  • Repetitive speech

What are the Signs of Dissociative Anesthetic Use?

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – Present

Vertical Gaze Nystagmus – Present

Lack of Convergence – Present

Pupil Size – Normal

Reaction to Light – Normal.

Pulse Rate – Up

Blood Pressure – Up

Body Temperature – Up

Muscle Tone – Rigid

Signs of overdose – Long, intense trip

Time of Drug Effects

  • On-set: 1 – 5 minutes
  • Peak effects: 15-30 minutes
  • Exhibit effects: 4 – 6 hours

What is a Disssociative Anesthetic?

Dissociative anesthetics are a type of drug that works to block or reduce signals going to the brain, which creates a feeling of separation from oneself and environment. The drugs were originally created as general anesthetics for medicinal use. These drugs also produce hallucinations.

PCP is a schedule II controlled substance. Ketamine is a schedule III controlled substance. The reason these drugs are not schedule I substances is they have limited medical uses. The limited situations would involve times when a person needs an anesthetic but can’t risk depression of the heart function that accompanies opiate analgesics.

Dextromethorpan is not a controlled substance, as it is found in regular cough syrups.

Driving Under the Influence of Dissociative Anesthetic Drugs

It is against the law to drive under the influence of a dissociative anesthetic drugs. Simply having PCP or Ketamine in your system is not enough for a conviction – your ability to operate a motor vehicle in a normal manner must be significantly affected by the drug.

Call Us at 734.883.9584

Call Sam Bernstein at 734.883.9584 or e-mail at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com.

Sam Bernstein is a Defense Lawyer in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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