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Ketamine reclassified as a Class B drug
ketamine
Ketamine has been linked to chronic toxicity to the bladder.
Law changes include amendments to the control of tramadol

Changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 come into force today (June 10), including the reclassification of ketamine as a Class B drug and changes to the control of tramadol.

Ketamine is now a Class B drug under Schedule II of the 1971 act, meaning the maximum penalty for unlawful possession has increased from two to five years in jail.

Widely used in the veterinary profession as an anaesthetic and analgesic, the drug is also used recreationally.

A report released earlier this year revealed heavy and frequent misuse of ketamine is linked to various physical and psychological problems, including chronic toxicity to the bladder leading to numerous reports of individuals having to have their bladders removed.

In its 2014 review, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said 120,000 individuals are estimated to have misused the drug between 2012 and 2013.

As of today, tramadol has also been classified as a Class C drug under Schedule 2 of the 1971 act, meaning the maximum penalty for unlawful possession is two years in jail.

The drug has also been added to Schedule 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs (Safe Custody) Regulations 1973, meaning it is exempt from the safe custody requirements.

Tramadol is of significant medical use in treating moderate to severe pain. Overdose results in drowsiness, agitation, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure and vomiting.

According to the Home Office seizures are more common with tramadol overdose than with other opiods, occurring in up to 15 per cent of cases. In cases of severe poisoning, coma, seizures and low blood pressure can occur.

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Veterinary Evidence Student Awards winners revealed

News Story 1
 The first winners of the RCVS Knowledge Veterinary Evidence Student Awards have been revealed.

Molly Vasanthakumar scooped first prize for her knowledge summary comparing the ecological impact of woven versus disposable drapes. She found that there is not enough evidence that disposable synthetics reduce the risk of surgical site.

Second prize went to Honoria Brown of the University of Cambridge, for her paper: ‘Can hoof wall temperature and digital pulse pressure be used as sensitive non-invasive diagnostic indicators of acute laminitis onset?’

Edinburgh’s Jacqueline Oi Ping Tong won third prize for critically appraising the evidence for whether a daily probiotic improved clinical outcomes in dogs with idiopathic diarrhoea. The papers have all achieved publication in RCVS Knowledge’s peer-reviewed journal, Veterinary Evidence.  

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News Shorts
Animal Welfare Foundation seeks new trustees

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) seeks three new trustees to help drive the charity’s mission to improve animal welfare through veterinary science, education and debate.

Veterinary and animal welfare professionals from across the UK may apply, particularly those with experience in equine and small animal practice and research management. Trustees must attend at least two meetings a year, as well as the annual AWF Discussion Forum in London.

For more information about the role, visit www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk. Applications close at midnight on 13 August 2019.