A London teenager died after overdosing on ‘Calvin Klein,’ a party drug that’s a lethal mix of ketamine and cocaine

People may combine these two drugs for a heightened hallucinogenic effect.

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People may combine these two drugs for a heightened hallucinogenic effect.
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shironosov/ iStock

  • A 17-year-old in London overdosed on “Calvin Klein,” the slang name for a party drug that contains cocaine and ketamine.
  • Cocaine and ketamine are both psychoactive drugs that can cause hallucinations and feelings of euphoria.
  • Both alone and combined to create Calvin Klein, these drugs can cause a racing heart, paranoia, and increased blood pressure.
  • Other drug combinations are dangerous too.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

The death of a 17-year-old from London, England, who overdosed on a party drug known as “Calvin Klein,” is creating awareness about the lethal substance.

Calvin Klein is the slang term for a mixture of cocaine and ketamine, a party drug that is reportedly popular in London’s nightlife scene, according to Metro UK. It gets its named because the first two letters, C and K, stand for the first two letters of the drugs that make up Calvin Klein.

On June 18, Katya Tsukanova, a music scholar with a promising violin career ahead of her, took the drug combination with friends and then collapsed in her home, where her father later found her. Tsukanova was taken to the hospital, but was pronounced dead.

A friend of Tsukanova’s said their friend group had recently started experimenting with the drug cocktail, which was already widely used around the city.

Although doctors have not yet pinpointed what about this drug concoction led to Tsukanova’s death, her passing is a warning about the dangers of illegal drugs, especially when mixed.

Ketamine and cocaine affect the brain differently, causing chemical chaos

Both drugs in Calvin Klein can cause hallucinations, change people’s perception of time, and make them hypersensitive to sight, sound, and touch.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a single dose of cocaine can start to take effect immediately and create feelings of euphoria, mental acuity, and energy. This feeling can last for a few minutes up to an hour, depending on how fast the drug gets absorbed into a person’s blood stream.

But cocaine, which can be snorted or smoked as a powder, can also lead to a “bad” trip, where a person acts violently or becomes paranoid, anxious, or irritable.

Physically, cocaine is a stimulant that can speed up a person’s heart and lead to seizures, heart attacks, and strokes.

Read more: Ketamine, once known for its club-enhancing effects, is now an FDA-approved antidepressant. Here’s what it does to your brain.

Ketamine creates hallucinations, a floating feeling, and heightened senses, but for longer periods of time than cocaine – usually one or two hours, according to Drugs.com.

The drug, which comes in both liquid and powder forms, has been used in medical settings since the 1970s for pain relief and as a sedative, and it’s also being currently studied as a treatment for depression and anxiety.

But when abused, ketamine can cause shortness of breath, a racing heart, and impaired consciousness. If a person takes large amounts of ketamine for recreational purposes, it can also lead to a coma, according to Drugs.com.

People may take the two drugs together with the aim of achieving a heightened hallucinogenic affect. Although little research on their combined effects has been done, the cocktail has been said to make the brain go haywire because each of the drugs affects its chemical system differently.

Mixing any drugs can have dangerous side effects

Tsukanova’s sudden death made the dangers of Calvin Klein apparent, but many types of drug combinations can have risky effects.

“People act as amateur psychopharmacologists, mixing drugs to get a certain effect – but what they judge poorly are the risks,” Dr. Owen Bowden-Jones, founder of the CNWL Drug Club Clinic, told Vice.

Alcohol and cocaine, for example, can cause extreme euphoric effects and speed up a person’s heart beyond what’s normal or healthy. It can also cause your body to create the chemical cocaethylene, which can cause sudden death, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Combining cocaine and ecstasy, or MDMA, meanwhile, can be toxic to the nervous system, research shows.