Department of Health

3-Hydroxy-PCP sold as ketamine

Note: White powder containing ‘3-Hydroxy-PCP’ is being sold as ketamine in Victoria.

3-HO-PCP is a “dissociative” drug that takes longer to have an effect than ketamine, but is more potent and unpredictable

A dissociative increases feelings of ‘distance from reality’, but also has other effects. Not much is known about 3-HO-PCP, but its effects appear to include unconsciousness, raised blood pressure and heart rate, hallucinations, agitation and confusion. It can also affect opioid receptors and may lead to ineffective breathing.

People who have used 3-HO-PCP report that it may be more potent than ketamine (stronger effects happen at a lower dose). They also report that 3-HO-PCP takes longer than ketamine to take effect and wear off.

3-HO-PCP is a similar chemical to PCP (“Angel Dust”). While it’s not clear how similar their effects are, they may share some unwanted effects such as hallucinations, agitation, and elevations in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.

Be cautious about any drug sold recently as ketamine in Victoria

The 3-HO-PCP circulating in Victoria is described as a white powder that looks like ketamine. In the past few weeks, there’s been an unusually high number of people seeking emergency medical support after using what they thought was ketamine. Those who sought help typically experienced unconsciousness or unexpectedly severe dissociative effects requiring medical assistance. Several people have since had 3-HO-PCP confirmed with blood tests.

3-HO-PCP can take around 20 to 40 minutes to have a noticeable effect and lasts about three to four hours. Ketamine usually has an effect in 7.5 to 20 minutes and lasts one to two hours. If you experience delayed or unexpected drug effects, do not take more.

Using dissociatives like 3-HO-PCP with depressants such as opioids, benzodiazepines, GHB, or alcohol will increase the risk of overdose and may lead to loss of consciousness and ineffective breathing.

Reduce the risk of harm

If you experience adverse drug effects, or are present when someone has an unexpected reaction, seek help immediately by calling Triple Zero (000).

All alcohol and other drug use comes with risks, so:

  • Be aware that other false or contaminated drug products may circulate in Victoria, even if no specific warning has been issued about them. Another ketamine substitute, 2F-NENDCK, has also been seen recently in the ACT.
  • Start low and go slow, and make sure you’re in a safe environment with people you trust.
  • Remember, even ‘pure’ drugs can produce serious side effects and death, and can interact dangerously with medications/pharmaceutical drugs.

Contact Harm Reduction Victoria’s DanceWize team for anonymous support and education from peers. Talk to DanceWize volunteers online at FacebookExternal Link or by email at

If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol or drug use, call DirectLine on 1800 888 236 or visit DirectlineExternal Link for information and support to access treatment.


Reviewed 11 November 2022


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