Police in Lima have reported capturing a small-time supplier of ketamine, highlighting the rising popularity of synthetic drugs in Peru.
A video (watch below) shows undercover agents buying ketamine, a sedative used in veterinary medicine, in a busy shopping district in central Lima. The video shows two separate occasions in which agents bought ketamine from street dealers, who were getting their product from a stall selling pharmaceuticals in a shopping mall, as newspaper La Republica reports.
Small bottles of the drug were offered to the undercover cops for 15 soles, almost $6. The end of the video shows one dealer openly injecting himself with the drug on the street.
Ketamine has been a popular recreational drug in Europe and Asia for some years, and can be taken in liquid or powder form. According to press reports, it seems to have been available in Peru since at least 2010.
InSight Crime Analysis
The ketamine bust follows the recent seizure of thousands of synthetic drug capsules in Lima, including Ecstasy, MDMA, and 2CB -- stimulants and hallucinogens which are typically used by young people at nighclubs or raves, as is ketamine. The availability of such "party pills" is one indicator of the growing popularity of synthetic drugs in Latin America among the youth population.
The recently-released 2013 International Narcotics Control Board report from the US State Department raised concerns about "the spreading abuse of synthetic drugs in South America" and "the reported abuse of prescription drugs containing psychotropic substances" among high school students.
Ketamine is now reportedly available in Argentina, El Salvador and Uruguay as well as Peru, according to the United Nations 2012 World Drug Report.
As reported by InSight Crime, the popularity of synthetic drugs has risen across the globe as production of traditional drugs such as cocaine and opium has fallen. Specially-manufactured drugs can avoid international sanctions and be sold as "legal highs."