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All About Phencyclidine, Also Known As PCP

PCP (phencyclidine) is a hallucinogenic and dissociative drug that became popular in the 1960’s for its relaxing and tranquilizing effects. In the mid 1960’s, PCP use in human medicine was discontinued because it produced highly bizarre side effects upon recovery from the anesthesia. Occasionally, PCP is still used in veterinary medicine and produced legally, for research, but, any other use is illegal.

Most PCP on the street is processed in clandestine laboratories without any monitoring controls, leaving the ingredients questionable, the effects unpredictable, and the risks high. It is sold under multiple names including Angel Dust, Boat, Wet, and STP.

Effects of PCP

PCP effects are described as dissociative because the person feels a sense of detachment from themselves. PCP distorts perceptions of sight and sound and the PCP “trip” may cause deliriums, hallucinations, paranoia, amnesia, violent or suicidal tendencies, or symptoms that mimic schizophrenia.

How is PCP Used?

PCP comes in many forms including liquid, liquid drops on paper, tablets, capsules, or other colored powders that can be snorted, smoked, or orally ingested. The PCP liquid is often used to dip cigarettes or joints in to smoke. The varying street names often help to identify the form or type of PCP available for easier recognition for example, “love boats”, “sherms”, or “dippers” for the joints or cigarettes dipped in PCP.

PCP Addiction

pcp abuse

If you’re having strong drug cravings and cannot control your use of PCP you may be addicted.

Abuse of PCP often begins with the person’s curiosity or a desire to feel good, but can soon lead to addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “PCP is addictive—its repeated abuse can lead to craving and compulsive PCP-seeking behavior, despite severe adverse consequences.”

PCP addiction causes many physical and psychological side effects that can make it difficult for the user to function in everyday activities and many side effects are long term or even permanent. Addicts often have co-existing mental health issues that may have preceded their PCP use, or were exacerbated by it and they develop a broad range of psychotic behaviors that are difficult to overcome.

Telltale Symptoms of PCP Addiction

There are a lot of variations in chemicals, manufacturing, and use of PCP causing many common symptoms of addiction to PCP as well as those that may be indistinguishable from mental illness. Telltale Symptoms of PCP Addiction include:

  • Cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms including of agitation, aggression, confusion, anxiety, or other psychosis
  • Compulsive use of PCP despite negative consequences
  • Episodes of extreme relaxation, tranquility, or sedation
  • Mood swings
  • Euphoria
  • Bizarre, unexplainable, or irrational behaviors
  • Incoherent thoughts or inability to put thought in order
  • Hallucinations, and deliriums
  • Tolerance or dependence to PCP
  • Social isolation or disengagements from family, friends, or co-workers
  • Aggressive, angry, violent, or suicidal tendencies
  • Amnesia
  • Emotional “anesthesia”
  • Speech difficulties
  • Loss of sensible judgments
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