Turns Out Ketamine Was Vital In That Thai Cave Rescue

The secret ingredients: bravery, and special K.

The world was captivated by the saga of the Thai Cave Boys last July. The incredible story of the 12 young soccer players and their coach – who were trapped by rising waters in a flooded, narrow cave for 15 days, then rescued, all alive and well, by an international team of divers, engineers, medics and other experts – had a near-miraculous happy ending.

And that happy ending was made possible, in part, by ketamine.

A new report from the LA Times, summarising a medical paper, has revealed that Special K was chosen as the drug with which to sedate the boys as they were passed along underwater by a chain of rescue divers.

The operation was incredibly dangerous – one diver had already died in the attempt to reach the cave at the end of the narrow, pitch-black series of flooded passages, and one of the major potential issues was that the boys could, understandably, panic as they were swum out.

But ketamine had some huge advantages over other kinds of sedatives: there was a lower risk of hypothermia, and they don’t suppress breathing, but kept the boys cooperative and calm. Which is a pretty big help when you’re malnourished, terrified, and being repeatedly dunked into turbulent waters by a stranger in the dark.

Dr Richard Harris, the Aussie anaesthetist and diver who helped train the rescue divers to administer the ketamine, was awarded Australian Of The Year this year alongside fellow diver and retired vet Dr Craig Challen, and also signed a $6 million Hollywood movie and book deal to tell their story.

Ketamine’s had a bit of a reputation rehab lately, going from “you take horse tranquilliser at the club?” to a surprisingly effective depression treatment – but now we’re wondering if there’s anything it can’t do.

The full LA Times report is detailed and fascinating, and highly recommended.

Prepare To Be Blown Away, Because Snorting Lines Of Peppermint Powder Is Legitimately A Thing

Sniff fresh.

AFL player Jack Watts has had a wild 24 hours after footage emerged of him snorting a white powder off a woman’s chest at an Oktoberfest event.

The Port Adelaide star’s initial denial via his manager – that it was “peppermint powder” – sounded incredibly made-up.

In fact, it sounds so wild that of course it’s actually a thing.

It might not be something your mates Insta’d themselves doing on their gap year trip, but it really is much of a tradition at the annual beer festival as lederhosen and puking.

Wiesn Koks, or Wiesn Pulver, is also known as “Oktoberfest cocaine”. But it’s simply mix of menthol powder and glucose, sold in little jars at the festival, and it’s totally legal.

The minty-fresh kick and instant sugar hit apparently helps cut through the carby, boozy fug that comes from pouring enormous steins of a frothy depressant down your throat and occasionally stopping for a pretzel.

To me, it sounds like the Contiki tour equivalent of daring your mate to snort a bump of Wizz Fizz at a Year 5 sleepover, but whatever helps you power past the sleepiness and right into that second wind.

The real question is: is it more effective if consumed directly off a boob?

London’s Eels May Be Getting High And Hyperactive Thanks To The Wild Amounts Of Cocaine In Their Water All Week Long

Finding a buzz where they can.

Ah, London: a storied and beautiful metropolis with a rich history, diverse culture, and a nightlife so raging that its party people are doing nearly as much rack in the middle of the week as they are on a Friday night.

Analysing a city’s sewer water is a surprisingly accurate, yet anonymised, way of working out just how many drugs its citizens are snorting, shelving and injecting into their bodies on the regular.

And researchers who dived into the UK capital’s waste water found that Londoners love their coke all week, not just on the weekend.

“Concentrations of cocaine and benzoylecgonine remained high in wastewater across the week with only a minor increase over the weekend, which is not consistent with other cities,” a new study reported in the Times says.

And the amount of coke pouring into London’s waterways (particularly near the Houses of Parliament, which might explain a lot) is having an effect on the behaviour of the eels that live in the water. A separate study released last year shows trace amounts of cocaine in water makes European eels “hyperactive”.

On the one hand, this is very funny to think about, because eels are inherently hilarious creatures.

On the other, those poor eels are all slithering around furiously agreeing with one another about politics, thinking up startup ideas they’re never going to actually work on, and filming unwatchable Instagram stories in dark clubs – and they have no idea why. Poor dears must be so confused.

“London is known as one of the highest consumers of cocaine and [observed levels] suggested everyday usage,” added the researchers.

Water studies show Barcelona has the highest coke intake, with the finance capitals of Zurich and Antwerp following close behind.

Water studies in Australia cover about half the population, and last year’s showed that we rank second highest in the world for stimulant consumption, with an estimated three tonnes of cocaine consumed every year.

And all you party people have to pee somewhere.

So next time you’re cutting lines on your phone in the pub bathroom, don’t think about what Gladys, your mum, or Happy Healthy Harold would say. Think of the wildlife who may find themselves suddenly really appreciating Fisher’s ‘Losing It’.

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