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Colorado Edition: How Ketamine Is Used

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An intravenous dose of ketamine, a sedative and anesthetic agent, pictured in a hospital setting.

Today on Colorado Edition: we’ll hear an investigation into the use of ketamine by first responders in our state. Plus, we break down what’s included in new state guidance on school reopenings.

State Guidance On School Openings

On Monday, the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released much-anticipated guidance on the reopening of schools. The state’s guidance recommends several different health measures, like taking temperatures at home before going to school and wearing masks. It also opens the door for more in-person learning and larger class sizes.

Erica Meltzer, bureau chief at Chalkbeat Colorado, joined us to break down the guidance. You can read her article on the state's recommendations for schools here.

KUNC Investigates Ketamine Use 

The death of Elijah McClain, a young Black man, has spawned multiple investigations in Colorado. Aurora police claimed he was resisting them and in a potentially life-threatening agitated state. A medic on the scene injected McClain with a drug called ketamine. It was meant to calm him down. But its use in this way is controversial among doctors. That got us wondering about how widely it's used.

A KUNC investigation by Michael de Yoanna and Rae Solomon found that it has been administered outside of hospitals almost a thousand times in Colorado over the last two and a half years.

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music in the show by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • “Rabbit Hole" by Love and Weasel

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and Henry Zimmerman (@HWZimmerman), and produced by Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. Managing editor Brian Larson contributed to this episode. We get production help from Rae Solomon. 

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a news magazine taking an in-depth look at the issues and culture of Northern Colorado. It's available on our website, as well as on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m., with a rebroadcast of the previous evening's show Tuesday through Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.