PCP is an abbreviation for the chemical substance phencyclidine, commonly known as “angel dust”. It was patented in 1958 by Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company as a intravenous general anaesthetic. However, it soon became unpopular with doctors because patients to whom the drug had been administered became disoriented, agitated, and delirious. They also often had hallucinations.
In 1965, the drug ceased to be used on humans, and in 1967, it became a veterinary anaesthetic. For this reason it is sometimes known on the street as “horse tranquillizer”.
The first illegal use of PCP was reported in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California, in 1967. It did not become popular because users often experienced “bad trips”.
PCP is can presently be purchased illegally in a number of forms: capsules, liquids, powders and various coloured tablets. In its natural state it is a white, crystalline powder which can be dissolved in water or alcohol.
PCP can be swallowed, smoked, sniffed or injected. It is smoked by applying PCP in powder form to a leafy substance, such as mint, parsley, oregano or marijuana.
SHORT TERM EFFECTS
* PCP is an addictive drug. Its use leads to cravings, psychological dependence and compulsive behaviour. Users often become delusional, violent, suicidal and exhibit other bizarre behaviours.
* Some people may experience distortions of time, space and body image. They may become very confused. Speech, muscle co-ordination and vision may be affected.
* Users may be injured or die in accidents because of this confusion. One addict tried to stop a train with his body. Others have jumped from heights or walked onto traffic-filled highways while under influence of the drug.
* Senses of touch and pain are dulled. One user tore all the skin off his face, another pulled out handfuls of hair.
* Higher doses may result in terror, paranoia, aggression or extreme passivity.
* A PCP overdose can result in convulsions, coma and possibly death.
LONG TERM EFFECTS
* Long term use of PCP can result in memory loss, speech difficulties, depression, weight loss, and confused thoughts. These problems may persist for up to a year after an individual has stopped taking the substance.
* For months after, flashbacks, hallucinations, and anxiety attacks may persist.
* The illegal drug known as “angel dust” is dangerous for anyone, but it is especially hazardous for teenagers. It can negatively affect the hormones regulating growth and also impede the normal learning process.
The impact of PCP on each person is unpredictable, but both long and short term effects are serious. Not only can they differ with each person, but individuals may experience different effects each time they use this drug.
Those who persist in using PCP over a period of time can build up a tolerance and need to use greater and greater amounts of the substance to obtain the effect they are hoping for.
Phencyclidine or PCP is a dangerous drug. The doctors who banned it for human use in 1965 made a wise decision. Unfortunately there are still those today, over 40 years later, who lack the wisdom and self control to avoid introducing this hazardous substance into their bodies.
They’ll have to learn the hard way just how foolish it is to endanger their mental and physical health by experiments with illegal substances. That is, the lucky ones will learn. The others may not live to do so.