PCP, or phencyclidine, is a dangerous drug that was originally developed as an
anesthetic. Its use was discontinued in humans in 1965 because of the troubling side
effects. It is now illegal in the United States.
How It's Used:
In its pure form, PCP is a white crystalline powder. It dissolves quickly in liquids
but has a distinctive, bitter chemical taste. Most PCP sold in the United States comes
as a white or colored powder or liquid and is added to leafy substances (such as oregano,
mint, or marijuana) and smoked. PCP also can be sold in pill, tablet, or capsule form
to be swallowed. In some cases, PCP users snort the drug or mix it with a liquid and
inject it with a syringe.
What It Does:
PCP affects the user's memory, ability to process emotion, and learning ability.
At lower doses, the effects of PCP can be similar to alcohol intoxication.
PCP can make users feel detached from their bodies and their surroundings. It can
also distort a user's perceptions of sight, sound, and reality — the drug is
known for giving users a false sense of strength, power, and invincibility.
Higher doses of PCP can cause hallucinations and symptoms similar to the effects
of mental illnesses like schizophrenia. These include anxiety, delusions, paranoia,
trouble forming coherent thoughts, suicidal thoughts, and bizarre behavior. PCP users
can get violent.
Depending on the dose and way the PCP was taken (injected, smoked, or swallowed),
the drug's effects can be felt in 2–5 minutes and last anywhere from 6–24
PCP can also cause these physical side effects:
slurred or garbled speech
loss of muscle coordination and balance
rapid, involuntary eye movements or a blank stare
nausea and vomiting
PCP is addictive.
Long-term use can lead to mental and physical cravings for the drug and compulsive
behavior to get and take it. Because the drug is so addictive, users keep taking it
even when they know the health problems PCP causes.
PCP can have sedative effects. If it's mixed with other sedatives, such as alcohol
it can put a user in a coma and cause serious, life-threatening consequences.
Some PCP users suffer frequent hallucination flashbacks
and other mental disorders over a long period of time.
PCP is an illegal drug listed as a Schedule II substance in the United States.
Possession or use is punishable by fines and jail time.