PCP, or Phencyclidine, is a drug that you might not be familiar with until you hear one of its street names: Angel Dust.
Also known as PeaCe Pill, Lovely, Wack, Hog, Dust, Ozone, and Rocket Fuel, PCP is a dissociative drug. When combined with marijuana, it is often called Supergrass or Killer Joints.
Whatever people call it, its chemical structure remains the same: it is a member of the arylcyclohexylamine class. In pharmacology, it is one of the dissociative anesthetics. It works primarily as an NMDA receptor antagonist.
PCP in its pure form is a white crystalline powder that has a distinctive bitter chemical taste.
It comes in the form of tablets, capsules, and colored powders, taken either orally or through snorting. PCP can also be sprayed onto leafy materials such as mint, oregano, parsley, or marijuana.
Today we will be taking a closer look at this drug, what makes it so addictive, and its effects on the people who do get addicted.
In the 1950s, PCP was brought back into the market as an anesthetic pharmaceutical drug. However, because of its dissociative hallucinogenic side effects, it was taken out of the market in 1965.
The researchers of Parke-Davis also discovered ketamine, which was later thought to be a better alternative for the same anesthetic applications.
Since then, PCP has spawned a number of synthetic derivatives which have been sold as dissociative drugs for recreational use.
It was in 1967 that the drug would begin emerging in major cities in the United States. By 1978, it has blown up to be a major drug problem.
The good news is that Angel Dust has constantly fluctuated in terms of popularity. For example, in 1990 only 3% of high school students admitted to trying PCP at least once. Back in the 70s, statistics showed 13% of the high school population has tried the drug.
PCP is considered a Schedule II substance in the United States. Meanwhile it is a Schedule I drug by the Controlled Drugs and Substances act in Canada.
PCP may come in both liquid and powder forms. However, it is more commonly sprayed onto leafy materials and then smoked. This “enhances” the effect of the drug, as the high is known to be more intense when taken in this form.
Tobacco cigarettes and marijuana may also be dipped in PCP and then dried.
Other methods include snorting—although this one depends on the drug’s purity—or absorbing through the skin.
We can assume that all effects mentioned here can and will vary by the dosage taken and how frequently the person takes the drug. Low dosage produces numbness in the extremities, as well as a feeling of intoxication. It has physical indications including bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and loss of balance.
If one takes a moderate dose, it will produce feelings of detachment from reality. They may feel distant from their surroundings. Users have also reported feeling invulnerable—like they are incredibly strong or unstoppable.
Higher doses may lead to convulsions, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, drooling, and dizziness. If you see someone staring blankly or having involuntary eye movements, as well as an exaggerated loss of coordination, this may be an indication that a person is high on Angel Dust.
The user won’t even notice this is happening to him because they would be preoccupied by auditory hallucinations, severe mood disorders, and anxiety attacks. Paranoia, violent hostility, and amnesia are all possibilities if PCP is abused. It may even cause psychosis.
There are more psychological effects to take note of including depersonalization and suicidal ideation.
Because of this, PCP has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous drugs to abuse. In the worst cases, PCP can cause seizures, coma, and even death.
Continuous abuse, as with other drugs, can lead to tolerance and addiction. Developing dependence means the user will start needing more and more of the drug just to get the same effects. At this rate the long term effects become more damaging, putting the user at serious risk. Memory loss is common in patients who are addicted to PCP.
It’s no surprise that the drug causes a complete breakdown of a person’s life, as their interpersonal relationships are affected, and their health deteriorates.
Managing PCP abuse would consist of supportive care and detoxification. The treatment would depend on a person’s condition, and so addiction treatment may vary between patients. The first step often involves a safe detoxification process. PCP will produce various withdrawal symptoms, which all have to be addressed during the rehabilitation. Detoxifying under medical supervision is essential.
Inpatient rehab centers can often provide the safe environment that a patient needs in order to recover.
Once the withdrawal process is finished, the addiction treatment therapy may start. This can be done in an inpatient rehab center or an outpatient program.
Getting your loved one into a PCP rehab center can be difficult, but it is definitely worth the effort.