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What is PCP? Phencyclidine, better known as PCP, is a strong dissociative sedative. Improper use of this drug can cause a person to behave aggressively or violently. Repeated abuse of PCP can cause many uncomfortable and dangerous side effects, some of which can be life-threatening.

This drug has been around since the 1920s. It was introduced for medical use in the 1950s. When administered intravenously during surgery, it acted as a central nervous system depressant. Eventually, its popularity in the medical community declined when patients experienced many unwanted side effects. Today, PCP is only occasionally used in veterinary medicine to tranquilize animals. Also, it is used in small quantities for research and testing by some drug companies.

How Is PCP Used?

Currently, the majority of phencyclidine found in the US is illegal. The street forms of this drug can be dangerous to a person’s health because of the poor quality of the drug. Street forms of PCP can cause respiratory arrest, convulsions, schizophrenia, neurological dysfunction, and coma.

Street names include:

  • Peace pill
  • Crystal joints
  • Angel dust
  • Peace weed
  • Animal tranquilizer

The various forms of PCP include white powder, tablets, capsules, liquid, and crystal. Popular methods of ingesting the drug include smoking, snorting, injecting, and swallowing. It is used in combination with other addictive substances such as marijuana, tobacco, or MDMA.

What are the Short-term and Long-term Effects?

The effects of PCP vary according to the dose taken and the route of administration. For instance, smoking the drug will produce effects within 2 minutes. When the drug is swallowed, the effects take as long 30 to 60 minutes to appear. With either method of ingestion, the effects can last from 4 to 48 hours, depending, of course, on the amount taken.

Below are some things most people don’t know about the effects and dangers of a PCP drug:

Short-term Effects of PCP Abuse

(Low-dose of 1 to 5 mg)

  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Numbness, poor coordination
  • Erratic behavior
  • Sense of invincibility
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Rapid heart rate, high blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Respiratory problems

Long-term Effects of PCP

  • Speech problems
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired decision-making
  • Anxiety, aggressive behavior
  • Violence outbursts
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Weight loss
  • Delusional thinking
  • Hallucinations, flashbacks

Studies show that some of these long-term effects of PCP can persist for up to a year after the last use of the drug. People with a history of mental health problems are more likely to exhibit violent or aggressive behavior when using this drug.

Other Facts and Dangers to Know

One of the biggest dangers of PCP abuse occurs when the drug is mixed with other substances. For example, some users “lace” marijuana or tobacco with a powder form of phencyclidine to be smoked. Another method of smoking the drug involves dipping a regular cigarette into the liquid form of PCP.

Another danger many people aren’t aware of has to do with dealers substituting PCP for Ecstasy (or MDMA). The pills used in this deception often contain other dangerous substances such as caffeine, methamphetamine, or ketamine.

Addiction and Treatment

As with any other powerful drug, a person’s body becomes accustomed to the presence of the substance and experiences withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withheld. The user will go to any lengths to obtain more of the substance in an effort to escape the uncomfortable withdrawal syndrome. For this reason, the individual will need professional treatment to successfully overcome their phencyclidine dependence.

Two of the most common treatment options include:

  • Inpatient detox and rehab program is highly recommended for treating PCP addiction because it provides a safe, controlled environment, thus allowing the patient to focus entirely on healing.
  • Outpatient treatment programs are convenient and affordable because they let the patient live at home and continue working or attending school while in treatment. The downfall of this program is that the person is still out in the environment that contributed to their addiction, making relapse more likely.

If you or a loved one is struggling with PCP addiction problems, call our toll-free number today. We can help you get on the path to a drug-free future.

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