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.
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