Denver (KDVR) –- A bill that would change the way ketamine is administered to agitated people outside of a pre-hospital setting is headed to the governor’s desk.
Colorado’s House of Representatives voted 40-25 to pass HB21-1251, a bill that addresses the “appropriate use of chemical restraints on a person.”
This comes after nearly two years of investigative reporting by the Problem Solvers, which revealed a handful of questionable cases in which the drug was used to sedate someone.
Some of those incidents, including the cases of Hunter Barr, Elijah McKnight, and Elijah McClain, are linked to adverse reactions or death.
The state health department is reviewing Barr’s case after an autopsy linked the toxic effects of ketamine in the setting of LSD and cough suppressants to his death.
The health department’s initial review of McClain’s case found “no findings that would support an action against the provider’s certificate.”
However, it reopened the case after further public outcry about his death.
Officials said protocol was followed in McKnight’s case after he spent several days in the ICU, on a ventilator following an administration of the drug.
The public health department refuses to participate in an interview about its ketamine regulations and policies while it conducts a private review of its program. That review was announced in August 2020. It is still not complete.
Many Republicans and members of law enforcement and the emergency medical community testified against bill, which became a partisan issue supported by the state’s Democrats.
Meanwhile, emergency physicians refer to ketamine as one of the safest tools available to help calm agitated patients outside of a hospital setting.