PCP or Phencyclidine is a very deadly drug in today’s society. PCP was developed in the 1950’s as an anesthetic. Use of PCP in humans was discontinued in 1965, because it was found that patients often became agitated, delusional, and irrational while recovering from its effects. PCP is illegally manufactured in laboratories and is sold on the street by such names as “diabolic” “wet” and “digital”. The variety of street names for PCP reflects its bizarre and irrational effects on those who use it. (Andersen)
PCP can be mixed easily with dyes and turns up on the illegal drug markets in a variety of tablets, capsules, and colored powders. PCP can be taken in multiple ways, it can either be smoked, snorted, or eaten. For smoking, PCP is usually mixed with marijuana.
PCP use often leads to psychological dependence, craving, and compulsive PCP-seeking behavior. It was first discovered as a street drug in the 1960s and quickly gained a reputation as a drug that could cause bad reactions in its users. Some continue in using PCP because of its addicting properties. Others say its the feelings of strength, power, invulnerability and a numbing effect on the mind as reasons for their continued PCP use. (Andersen)
Many PCP users are brought to emergency rooms because of PCP’s bad psychological effects or because of overdoses. In a hospital they often become violent or suicidal, and are very dangerous to themselves and people around them. At a low dose, physiological effects of PCP include a slight increase in breathing rate and a more pronounced rise in blood pressure and pulse rate. Respiration becomes shallow, and flushing and profuse sweating occur. Numbness of the extremities may also occur.
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Psychological effects include distinct changes in body awareness, similar to those associated with alcohol. (www.nida.com)
At high doses of PCP, there is a drop in blood pressure, pulse rate, and breathing. This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, rolling of the eyes, and dizziness. High doses of PCP can also cause seizures, coma, and death. Psychological effects at high doses include hallucinations. PCP can cause effects that mimic the full range of symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions, paranoia, disordered thinking, a sensation of distance from one’s environment, and catatonia. Speech is often slurred or distorted to the point of no understanding. (www.nida.com)
People who use PCP for a long time suffer from memory loss, difficulties with speech and thinking, depression, and weight loss. These symptoms can persist up to a year after duration of PCP use. Mood disorders also have been reported due to PCP. PCP has sedative effects, and interactions with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can lead to coma or accidental overdose. (www.nida.com)
Use of PCP by high school seniors has declined steadily since 1979, when 7.0 percent of seniors had used PCP in the year before the survey. In 1997, however, 2.3 percent of seniors used PCP at least once in the past year, up from a low of 1.2 percent in 1990. Past month use among seniors decreased from 1.3 percent in 1996 to 0.7 percent in 1997. (Mullen)
Andersen, Dr. Kelli. “PCP and Its Affects on The Human Body” Journal of Human Anatomy. 212.3 (1999)
Mullen, William. “PCP Uses Down Amongst Youths” Dallas Star 15 Aug 1997, sec. d page. 2.
United States. National Institute on Drug Abuse. PCP. 5 Nov. 1999 <http://www.nida.nih.gov/>.