What is PCP?
What is PCP?
PCP (phencyclidine)—also known as angel dust, ozone and rocket fuel—is a synthetic hallucinogenic drug known for its dissociative (often negative) psychological effects. While PCP can evoke feelings of strength, invincibility and power, it is an extremely dangerous, and often addictive, drug.
PCP is a white or colored powder that is typically sold in tablet or capsule form. Users abuse PCP by snorting, smoking or ingesting it. (When smoked, users apply PCP powder to dried plant leaves such as mint, basil or marijuana.) Depending on the amount ingested and route of administration, the effects of PCP can last for up to 6 hours.
In addition to feelings of supremacy and invincibility, PCP users experience dissociative states, or feelings of mental numbness and detachment. Many adverse psychological effects may also occur, including schizophrenia-like symptoms (delusions, disordered thinking, hallucinations, paranoia, and anxiety) and mood disturbances (anxiety, panic attacks). Severe effects include seizures, coma, violence, suicide or death. When PCP interacts with other drugs, especially depressants, it can lead to coma or respiratory distress.
A variety of physical side effects occur while using PCP. In the short term, low to moderate doses cause a rise in blood pressure; an increase in breathing and pulse rate; shallow breathing; numbness of the extremities; loss of coordination; flushing; and profuse sweating. When taken in higher doses, drops in blood pressure, respiration, and pulse rate; nausea and vomiting; rolling of the eyes; loss of balance; dizziness; and drooling may occur.
PCP also can cause long-term, serious effects that may last up to a year after drug use. They include memory loss, depression, trouble thinking and speaking and weight loss.
Can PCP addiction be treated?
Treatment for PCP addiction usually involves some form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, medical interventions (such as medically supervised detoxification) and addiction support groups. Aftercare or follow-up treatment is also vitally important to long-term recovery.
PCP addiction can be quite difficult to overcome, particularly because the long-term effects it causes commonly lead to relapse. Because of this, individuals suffering from PCP addiction are strongly encouraged to seek professional help.