In 2008, 99,000 Americans age 12 and older had abused PCP at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. A Monitoring the Future Study showed that 1.1 percent of 12th graders had abused this drug at least once in the year prior to being surveyed also. PCP was developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic; its use for humans was discontinued because it caused patients to become agitated, delusional, and irrational.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, PCP (phencyclidine) abuse had declined. Today, this drug has re-emerged as a drug of abuse. Individuals abuse PCP now because of the mind-altering hallucinogenic effects that it produces.
PCP is now considered a ‘Club Drug’ and is abused by young adults in what is called the ‘Rave Culture’. This drug has mind altering effects and is abused in one of three ways; snorted, smoked or swallowed. The most common method of abuse is smoking it. The abusers use leafy type material like mint, parsley, oregano, tobacco or marijuana and they saturate it with PCP powder. It’s then rolled into a cigarette called a joint, and smoked. A marijuana joint or cigarette that’s been dipped in a PCP solution is known as a ‘dipper’. This drug is usually used in small quantities, about 5 to 10 milligrams; this amount is considered an average dose.
What Exactly Is PCP?
PCP is a white crystalline powder that is dissolvable in water or alcohol. It has a bitter chemical taste. This drug mixes very easily with dyes and is often sold on the illegal drug market in a variety of forms; tablets, capsules and colored powder form. The effects an individual experiences when abusing PCP depends on how they take it and how much they use. Usually, the effects last about 4-6 hours.
Our young adults and high school students are now using this drug to get high. Many young people and adults as well, don’t understand the dangers associated with illicit drug use. In the 1960s PCP was known as a street drug but it didn’t take long before people realized that it caused bad and scary reactions and was not worth the risk. Today, some abusers continue to use this drug because it makes them feel strong, powerful and for the mind-numbing effect it produces.
Street Names for this drug include:
- Angel Dust
- Tic Tac
- Rocket Fuel
- Embalming Fluid
Street Names Street Names for this drug (when combined with marijuana) include:
- Killer Joints
- Super Grass
Negative Effects When Abused
The negative effects PCP produces when used can be extremely scary. Some of the symptoms when using this drug in small doses have the same characteristics as schizophrenia, for example; delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, their thinking is confused and distorted and they feel distant from their environment. They know where they are, but don’t really feel a part of it. Some experience terror and confusion.
High doses of PCP which is about 10 mg or more, produces illusions and hallucinations. Physical effects include increased blood pressure, rapid and shallow breathing, elevated heart rate and elevated temperature.
Chronic abuse of this drug impairs memory and thinking. Slurred speech, stuttering, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, social isolation and becoming socially withdrawn are also effects from habitual and chronic abuse.
Withdrawal Symptoms are much like the effects when using PCP. Randomly they can experience paranoia, confused thinking and hallucinations. Dangerous behavior can be part of withdrawal symptoms for some users; this can include homicidal tendencies, violence and aggression. This can happen randomly and makes withdrawals from PCP unpredictable.
Overdose Symptoms may include; agitation (over-excited or violent), altered state of consciousness, coma, convulsions, side to side eye movements, un-coordination, psychosis and high blood pressure.
It’s scary to think that in 2008 there was about 37,266 emergency department visits associated with this drug. This estimate was put out by the Drug Abuse Warning Network. There were 747 PCP poison cases reported in 2008 also. With abuse of this drug on the rise, I can’t imagine what the numbers will be in 2010.
About 50 percent of the people brought to emergency rooms because of this drug, had severe anxiety symptoms. They had all abused PCP about 48 hours prior. Many individuals that have abused this drug for long periods of time have admitted to loss of memory, trouble thinking and speaking, depression and weight loss. Symptoms like these can last for about a year after stopping the abuse of this drug. Even though the consequences are severe, PCP is so addictive that the compulsive cravings and behavior deepens the need to repeat the use.
In The News
In spite of the dangers and scary effects of PCP abuse, the demand for this hallucinogen is still going strong. Posted on August 23, 2010, the headline read ‘Demand for the hallucinogen PCP surges on the streets of KC’. Police there said that apparently the demand for this drug is skyrocketing in Kansas City. Police recovered 447 gallons of the drug in 2009 and the first half of this year. This was compared to the 4 gallons in total of 2007 and 2008.
Police also said they have busted more PCP labs where the dealers are diluting the drug with brake cleaner fluid and formaldehyde, resulting in the recovery of larger amounts. They also said they intercepted several large shipments of this drug last year; these shipments were passing through Kansas City intended for distribution elsewhere.
On August 1st in West Hartford CT, police tasered a man twice for running naked near a McDonald’s, he told the police he was high on PCP.
June 11, 2010, this article not only makes you stop and think, but will make your heart ache at the same time. In Washington, a staff reporter wrote an article about two 8 year old elementary students that had taken PCP after school. Both of the children were treated at a local hospital after ingesting some of the drug but, were OK. A parent found an empty vial in her child’s pocket. The child told police that he found the drugs in a neighborhood park and he didn’t know what was inside.
This last news article I am sharing even though it’s extremely hard to do. I hope that anyone out there that’s abusing PCP or any other drug realizes that the effects drugs have on an abuser can differ from person to person sometimes. Under the influence, no one is completely sure of what they are capable of doing. Whether it’s PCP, alcohol or any other substance of abuse, no one can be sure of what will happen under the influence.
On May 15, 2009 an article was written about a Bakersfield father that was accused of biting out one of the eyes of his small child and mutilating the other eye, leaving the child blind. After attacking the child, the 34 year old father left and went to the backyard of a vacant home nearby. He attacked his own legs with an ax severely injuring himself. The search warrant report said the father “was displaying symptoms of being under the influence of PCP.” In 2006, he had been charged with being under the influence of PCP in a criminal case.
So you see, drug abuse not only affects the user and their friends and loved ones, but ends up affecting the entire community. Thankfully, the two 8 year old children were ok, but what about the one’s that aren’t? If you or someone you love and care about has a problem with PCP or any other drug legal or illegal, there is help available. 1-800-559-9503.
Websites used in this article
PCP Fast Facts
Drugs and Chemicals of Concern
West Hartford News http://www.westhartfordnews.com/articles/2010/08/07/news/doc4c5741d05ab67967512281.txt