HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Ketamine has become the drug of choice among young people, as the number of people under 21 taking drugs has surged 57 percent in the last four years in Hong Kong, said Commissioner for Narcotics, Sally Wong.
"We started off with a very small number of young people taking drugs. We are now more worried about the trend," Wong said. "We don't want a runaway trend; that's why we are stepping up action."
Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer, can put users in a dazed stupor for about two hours, doctors said. Long-term use of ketamine can impair cognitive function and damage internal organs.
An oversupply of the drug in Hong Kong and the fact that it is cheaper than other narcotics makes ketamine popular with young people, said Superintendent Wilson Fok of the Hong Kong Police Narcotics Bureau.