Phencyclidine (PCP) was once considered to be the number 1 drug problem in the United States. This lead to a great deal of concern within society, as the negative effects of the drug began to get a great deal of media attention. There were incidents of users throwing themselves off buildings in the mistake belief that they could fly. There were also reports of PCP addicts who would go wild and appear to have the strength to fight off the attempts of police officers to restrain them. Despite the public concerns expressed about PCP the consumption of the drug is relatively low. It became most popular during the 1970s but since that time use of the drug has declined. Phencyclidine use continues to have a particularly bad reputation and considering the effects of the drug this is deserved.
Phencyclidine is a dissociative drug – this means that it is a type of hallucinogen that blocks signals to the conscious mind. The person who takes it feels detached from reality. This occurs because phencyclidine acts as an NMDA receptor antagonist. It was originally intended as an anesthetic drug, but it fell out of use after the 1950s. It has since become a popular recreational drug among people who enjoy its effects. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous of all the hallucinogenic drugs.
Phencyclidine can also be referred by other names including:
* Angel dust
* Embalming fluid – some people mistakenly believe that this name means that the drug contains embalming fluid, but it is instead referring to the effects of the drug.
* Rocket fuel
* Tic Tac
* Peace pills
* Love boat
PCP comes in different forms including:
* Tablet or capsule
* Mixed with tobacco or marijuana
Phencyclidine can be consumed in a number of ways including:
It is sometimes mixed with cannabis and referred to as killer joints or super grass. It is also possible to dip cigarettes in the substance to make a happy stick.
The psychoactive effects of PCP last a few hours, but it can take up to eight days for this substance to leave the body.
The usual and possible effects of phencyclidine include:
* The individual can experience feelings of ecstasy.
* Some people develop psychotic thinking patterns.
* The individual feels a loss of ego.
* It can trigger an out of body experience. This is where the individual feels like they have floated away from their body.
* A feeling of numbness in parts of the body.
* A loss of muscle coordination.
* Involuntary twitching of muscles – this is medically referred to as myoclonus.
* Athetosis involves slow writing movements of legs, fingers, arms, and neck.
* Involuntary eye movements.
* Inability to differentiate between what is real and what is fantasy.
* The person can believe that they are in contact with supernatural entities.
* The individual may move to bizarre body postures.
* The person will tend to be disassociated from pain. This helps to explain why it can be so difficult for law enforcement officers to control them, and it also means that these individuals can easily pick up severe injuries without realizing it
* Perception of time and space is radically altered.
* The individual can feel like they are omnipotent.
* Some people will become extremely paranoid.
* The individual may become suicidal.
* Rise in blood pressure and pulse rate.
* Shallow breathing and possible increase in respiratory rate.
* Nausea and vomiting
* Profuse sweating
Despite the many dangers associated with PCP are there people who are willing to take this drug. This is because they are attracted to the feelings of bliss and the opportunity to escape their reality. Some users will describe PCP as producing a spiritual state where they are in touch with gods and can do whatever they desire. These experiences are highly seductive – especially for people who are finding their normal reality to be a challenge.
Phencyclidine can be an extremely dangerous drug because:
* People have died as a result of taking this drug – it is not necessary for the person to be a regular user for this to happen.
* Some users have fallen into a coma after using this drug.
* It can lead to mental health problems.
* Some individuals become paranoid and violent under the influence of PCP. This means that they may act in ways that they later deeply regret.
* There is a high risk that those who take this drug will become physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. Addiction to this type of drug can steal everything of value from a person’s life.
* The person who is abusing PCP will be at a high risk of committing suicide.
* The individual who is suffering from the effects of this drug may physically hurt other people or cause damage to them in other ways.
* The user can lose all touch with reality.
* There is a risk that they could fall into a coma.
The symptoms of phencyclidine dependence can include:
* The individual appears to be hallucinating.
* They talk about things that don’t make much sense.
* The individual has become paranoid.
* Strange physical movements or jerking. The individual may walk as if they were drunk.
* Dilated of floating pupils.
* Evidence of drooling.
* The individual appears to have a reduced sensitivity to pain. For example, they have injured themselves but don’t seem to notice.
* They seem disorientated towards space and time.
* They appear agitated or out of control.
* Evidence of mood swings.
PCP dependence can be devastating not only for the individual but also for their family and friends. This addiction rips a person’s life apart, and if they are not able to stop it will lead them to insanity and death. Those who do attempt to quit are at a high risk of relapse, but this risk will be reduced if the individual receives appropriate support. Those who have abused the drug for a long time are at risk of serious withdrawal symptoms so it may be best to have their withdrawals medically supervised.
Those who have been abusing PCP can experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop. These symptoms can vary in severity can include:
* The individual may not feel like they have much energy.
* Their thinking ability may appear dulled – it is like their brain is in a fog.
* Symptoms of depression.
* Reflexes can be dulled.
* Cravings for the drug.
* Muscles may feel rigid.
* Increased appetite.
* The individual may spend much of their time during the withdrawals sleeping.
* Long term users may become psychotic or violent during withdrawals. This is why it is often to have this process supervised by professionals.
The individual recovery from the withdrawal symptoms over time, but for somebody who has been a heavy PCP user it may take up to a year before they are fully recovered.