Australian Actress Rowena Wallace Embraces Ketamine to Treat Depression

By John Lavitt 03/24/15

The soap opera actress hailed the drug as "miraculous" in treating her long battle with depression.

Rowena Wallace
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Australian-based soap opera actress Rowena Wallace has found relief from clinical depression by taking part in an experimental ketamine drug trial.

An animal sedative and party drug referred to as Special K, ketamine has proven to be a working cure for her depressive episodes. After years of combating mental illness and multiple suicide attempts, Wallace is one of a small group taking part in the trial by Aura Medical Corporation.

Led by Melbourne University Professor Graham Barrett, the trial is examining the effects of small dose ketamine injections on 30 patients. Within six months, three-quarters reported an improvement in mental state.

Following a long history with depression that disrupted her career, Rowena Wallace, 67, currently lives on a disability pension. When asked about the depressive episodes, Wallace explained, “I have had it since my teens. You become convinced there's no point in being around.”

After failing to find answers for many years, Wallace is celebrating her relief by using her star power to publicize the drug trial. She enthusiastically records her experience in an advertisement promoting the drug trial: “Suddenly, I started wafting around the house and singing and taking a whole new interest in life," Wallace said. "I couldn’t get depressed if I tried ... This treatment has been miraculous.”

Originally developed as an anesthetic for soldiers in the Vietnam War, ketamine is known as a dissociative tranquilizer that primarily has been used by veterinarians. As a recreational drug, ketamine is illegal, but remains quite popular as a club drug in the gay community. In both powder and liquid form, ketamine can be snorted, smoked, eaten, or injected.

Although long-term effects remain unclear, the drug can result in vomiting, hallucinations, and even death when combined with alcohol. Despite these negative consequences, ketamine has been experiencing a wave of positive success recently as an innovative treatment for depression.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.