What is phencyclidine (PCP)?


What is Phencyclidine (PCP)?

A highly hallucinogenic narcotic, PCP is an illegal (but extremely common) street drug commonly referred to as angel dust, rocket fuel, and peace pills. When taken, PCP can cause vivid hallucinations that affect sight, hearing, and even sense of touch leaving the user experiencing events that are not real while distorting their sense of time and reality.

PCP can leave users with dangerous side effects ranging from body numbness to extreme depression and can be fatal at doses in amounts around 1mg/kg in adults (and smaller quantities for children). Because PCP disrupts the natural balance of chemicals within the human mind and body, mood swings are common and can quickly turn violent—PCP users often hurt themselves and others around them during their hallucinations.

What does PCP look like?

The most common occurrence of PCP is in its crystalline-powder state, appearing completely white in color. Because it is such a loose powder it can go unnoticed when sprinkled in small quantities which make it easy to lace on cannabis or within other pills such as ecstasy.

How is PCP taken?

Because PCP is naturally a powder, taking the drug can be done in many ways by users. The most common way is to smoke the powder by mixing it with cannabis and smoking it like a regular joint. In its powdered form, PCP can be snorted or directly swallowed. PCP powder is highly dissolvable in alcohol and water which make it easy to for injecting directly into the blood stream.

What are the short-term effects of PCP use?

When first taken, a rapid distortion of reality takes place. Time and space will no longer appear as it normally does, and the user’s senses will start to change. Hallucinations can occur within seconds if a large dose of PCP is taken; smaller doses could take as much as 30 minutes before any noticeable effects are present.

What are the long-term effects of PCP use?

As users continue to take PCP, the effect begins to diminish without adding more drugs into the body. As a result, the constant trauma the user suffers causes their body to start breaking down. Psychological systems are typically present first—agitation, aggressive behavior, and violent mood swings—and physical signs begin to appear over the years; these include kidney failure, liver damage, and heart disease.

Because PCP is stored long-term in fat cells, even after usage has stopped, when the body breaks down fat (such as during exercise), small amounts of PCP can enter the bloodstream and result in horrible flashbacks and recurring nightmares.

What class of drug is PCP?

Similar to cocaine, PCP is a class A drug which means if a user is caught in possession of the drug they will face a 7 year prison sentence and a very large fine; if a distributor or supplier of PCP is caught, they will face life imprisonment.