Colorado Launches Investigation Into The Use Of Ketamine In Light Of Elijah McClain Case

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David Zalubowski/AP Photo
A placard is displayed on a bicycle during a rally and march over the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, Saturday, June 27, 2020, outside the police department in Aurora, Colo. McClain died in late August 2019, after he was stopped while walking to his apartment by three Aurora Police Department officers.

State officials confirmed Tuesday they launched an official investigation into the use of ketamine in light of the Elijah McClain death last year.

McClain was injected with ketamine by paramedics after police attempted to arrest him last August in Aurora. McClain had been placed by police in a couple of chokeholds and had fainted. After the ketamine administration, he went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told CPR News it has received "numerous" complaints starting in June about ketamine administration. Officials say they launched a complaint investigation but declined to provide specifics.

State numbers show there have been more than 150 incidents of ketamine complications, and paramedics have administered it 902 times from January 2018 through June 2020.