Legislation proposed by Colorado Congressman would limit ketamine use nationwide


DENVER (KDVR) — More than two years after the death of Elijah McClain, three officers and two paramedics face charges after a grand jury investigation into the 23-year-old’s death.

At the center of that investigation is the use of ketamine, a powerful sedative that Aurora paramedics administered to McClain.

This summer, Colorado passed a state law limiting a paramedic’s use of the drug and prohibiting police officers from influencing the drug’s use on a person.

Now, U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse is proposing the Ketamine Restriction Act, which would “ban the use of ketamine during an arrest or detention, other than in a hospital.”

“We firmly believe that this shouldn’t be a part of law enforcement, that our officers should be able to do this without the use of a very dangerous drug of this nature,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, who also sponsors the bill. “So we should take it out of the mix and not allow it to be used anymore, is the bottom line.”

Crow said the law passed in Colorado needs to be on the books nationwide.

The proposed legislation would withhold certain funding from state and local governments unless they agreed to ban ketamine in certain law enforcement situations.

“It is, in so many other ways, an example of how Colorado leads the way,” Crow said. “So there are really good lessons we can take from our state, doing great work, and how we can scale that as a national level as well.”

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