warning: file_exists(): open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/../ad_/ad_cache_.inc) is not within the allowed path(s): (/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/:/tmp/) in /var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/sites/all/modules/ad/adserve.inc on line 160.

Use of ketamine sparks controversy

Two controversial means of subduing unruly suspects hit the front pages of daily papers across the state this past week.
In one incident, officers shot and killed a man in an alley who allegedly had a gun. In other instances, police officers and emergency medical personnel are coming under criticism for using the drug ketamine to sedate people in emergency, dangerous situations.
It wasn’t all that many years ago that the use of Tasers, an electric shock weapon, also known as a stun gun, also came under criticism as a means for subduing people.
The use of Tasers was promoted because they are, obviously, less dangerous than traditional hand guns. Tasers were intended to temporarily paralyze a person until officers could get them into restraints.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, in some cases, Tasers can trigger other medical responses, including fatal heart attacks. There were soon strict policies put in place to outline the use of the weapons.
The use of ketamine has become even more controversial, primarily because it is a drug that is administered without informed consent. Law officers supposedly encourage paramedics to use the drug to subdue agitated persons, who are often incoherent.
There are definitely ethical considerations regarding ketamine. Should police officers, who are not, of course, doctors, have the authority to ask medical personel to administer the drug? Should it be administered when a full medical history is unknown, and therefore pose more risks?
On the other hand, what are officers to do when faced with an out-of-control, possibly hallucinating or delusional person? What if that person is posing a peril to those officers or innocent bystanders?
As was the case of the high-speed chases that we outlined last week, there are no policies that can possibly cover every situation that will be encountered by first responders.
The question becomes, at what point does the risk outrank the benefits? Again, a question with no clear-cut, definitive answer. We can only hope that reason prevails over panic.