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Still, the possibility of K-high youths getting behind the wheel of a car is alarming, and ketamine was used in several rapes in the 1980s. Stalcup and others agree that ketamine can be addictive. "Some people get very habituated," says Ann Shulgin, a longtime drug researcher. "I've heard some uncomfortable stories--highly intelligent people who just don't seem aware that they're getting into a dependency."
A prominent experimenter with ketamine was John Lilly, a neuroscientist who pioneered communication with dolphins, and who was played by William Hurt in Altered States (1980). Lilly recalls that a doctor first gave him ketamine in the '70s for migraines. Lilly then began injecting himself with K and at one point was taking 50 milligrams an hour, 20 hours a day, for three weeks. He became convinced "that he was a visitor from the year 3001" and that he was talking to aliens. Today, Lilly is 82 and lives in Maui. He says he hasn't done K for "about a year" and believes it's not addictive. "Go out and try some," he urges. But he also says ketamine should be illegal. "It's dangerous if you don't know what you're doing," he says. "You could fall down."
Back at the Fantasy Ranch in Tampa, the kids have never heard of John Lilly or his friend Timothy Leary. "No, man, are they dealers?" asks one. When the deejay spins a song called A Little Bit of Ecstasy, cheers go up. "K is really fun," says Beth, 19, as she sashays away. "But I always know I'll be tired the next day."