It is perhaps better known as an illegal hallucinogenic party drug but in recent years ketamine has acquired an unexpected reputation: as a medicinal substance at the front line of scientific research.

Introduced about 50 years ago as an anaesthetic and commonly used as a horse tranquilliser, ketamine is now touted as a remedy against depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and migraines. To that list we can add addiction, after a team of psychopharmacologists from University College London revealed that a one-off dose of the drug could help heavy drinkers refuse alcohol. 

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