PCP, also commonly known as Angel Dust, is a dissociative drug often found illicitly that causes hallucinations and distortions in a user’s perception of oneself and reality.
PCP (phencyclidine) is structurally similar to ketamine (also known as Special K) and can result in distortion of colors, sights, sounds, self, and environment. PCP is a Schedule II drug considered to have a high potential for addiction, and repeated use may lead to dependence and compulsive drug-seeking behavior.
Relatively pure PCP is usually found as a white crystalline powder that is water-soluble and has a bitter chemical taste. On the street, PCP may also include several adulterants that affect the color, darker colors that range from tan to brown, and have a powdery to tacky consistency. It can also be found as tablets or capsules and in liquid form.
Street names used for PCP also include Cliffhanger, DOA, Hog, Rocket Fuel, Peace Pill, Supergrass, Ozone, Wack, Happy Sticks, Trank, Lethal Weapon, and Kools.
How Is PCP Abused?
PCP can be consumed orally, smoked, snorted, or injected. When smoked (also referred to as “fry”), the drug is sprayed onto organic plant material, such as cannabis, and then ignited and inhaled. This is thought to be the most common administration route when used for recreational purposes.
Liquid forms of PCP can be injected and consist of the base drug dissolved in ether, a highly combustible solvent. Tobacco or cannabis can also be soaked in this product (also known as “wet”). Psychoactive effects last between 4-6 hours.
PCP Drug Effects
Most experts agree that PCP is among the most dangerous drugs of abuse. Even a moderate amount of PCP can cause a person to feel detached from themselves and the environment. Numbness in the extremities, impaired coordination, and slurred speech are effects that may also coexist with feelings of vitality and invulnerability.
A vacant stare, rapid and uncontrollable eye movements, and an exaggerated gait are among the more obvious effects. Auditory and visual hallucinations, image distortions, extreme moodiness, and memory loss may also occur. Severe anxiety, accompanied by hostility, paranoia, feelings of impending doom, and a psychotic state not unlike schizophrenia, are also common.
Low-moderate doses of PCP may lead to the following physiological effects:
- Accelerated breathing rate
- Excessive sweating
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Shallow breathing
High doses of PCP may result in the following physiological effects:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Slowed pulse
- Depressed respiration
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Involuntary eye movement
- Impaired balance
- Violent impulses
- Suicidal ideations or actions
High doses of PCP can also induce seizures and lead to coma or death, often due to unintentional injury or suicide during profound intoxication. Psychoactive effects at high doses also include hallucinations and delusions.
PCP Abuse and Addiction
Today, many people believe that PCP’s presence on the black market is mostly a problem of the past. However, in some areas of the U.S., including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., PCP use is still relatively common. In fact, this drug accounts for as much as 10% of positive drug tests upon arrest. In other areas where PCP use dwindled to insignificant levels in the 1990s, law enforcement and health experts are now concerned that the drug could be making a comeback.
Indeed, according to DAWN (Drug Abuse Warning Network), PCP-related emergency department visits spiked by more than 400% from just under 15,000 to 75,538 from 2005 to 2011.
Also, NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) reports that “the number of past-year initiates of PCP aged 12 or older was 90,000, up from the 2011 estimate of 48,000.”
Most of these new PCP users are young persons seeking a high that is more intense than cannabis but still affordable.
Treatment for PCP Addiction
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to PCP, you are urged to seek professional substance abuse treatment as soon as possible. Upon admission to Just Believe Detox or Just Believe Recovery center, our team of addiction specialists will collaborate to design a customized, comprehensive treatment plan. This plan will be designed to reflect your unique recovery needs and goals. It will include all the therapeutic services and support individuals need to recover and enjoy long-term sobriety and wellness.
Our programs, including partial hospitalization and residential formats, combine a range of innovative, evidence-based treatment approaches that provide those we treat with the tools they need to overcome obstacles to sobriety. Within this therapeutic and supportive setting, individuals can once again engage with themselves, set realistic hopes and goals, and get started on the path toward a satisfying and healthy future without the use of harmful substances.
Please call us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and discuss your options. Discover how we can help you or your loved one break free from the disease of addiction for life!