Phencyclidine (also known as PCP, angel dust, hog, ozone, rocket fuel and crystal embalming fluid) was first marketed in 1950 as an anesthetic but was removed from the shelves 15 years later because of its intense hallucinogenic properties. Side effects also included extreme agitation and manic, occasionally violent, behavior. The drug is classified as a Schedule II substance.
Sovereign Health provides treatment for individuals addicted to PCP. Our four California locations – San Clemente, Los Angeles, Palm Desert and Rancho San Diego (adolescent program) – use evidence-based and holistic treatment modalities to provide a lasting recovery from PCP addiction.
Dangerous, Even In Small Doses
PCP is a dissociative anesthetic, meaning it produces the dissociative variety of anesthesia in patients. As an NMDA receptor antagonist, it works by binding to the NMDA receptors in the brain. Because the drug is illegal and therefore not subject to any oversight, users do not know how much of or the potency of what they are ingesting. As a result, a single dose of PCP can be fatal.
With respect to “normal” PCP and amounts ingested, the following reactions have been noted:
- 2 to 5 milligrams: Users appear drunk, disoriented. It is not unusual for a person to be euphoric one moment and raging the next. PCP can cause ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements); no other stimulant causes this
- 5 to 25 milligrams: Users succumb to stupor and can lapse into a mild coma. They do not react to surface stimuli but do react to deep pain.
- 25 milligrams or more: Coma. No reaction to deep pain. In this state, a user may convulse and die.
Statistics on PCP-related deaths are scarce. It is believed roughly 3 percent of substance abuse deaths are due to PCP. One reason is PCP is so dangerous is that can remain in the body for up to eight days, though it reaches maximum potency six to 24 hours after being ingested.
Symptoms of PCP addiction
There is not a large body of research into the long-term effects PCP addiction symptoms has on the brain. Scientists believe continual use can result in the following:
- Problems with speech
- Memory loss
- Suicidal ideation
Because the drug is unregulated, there is no sure way of knowing how a person will react under its influence. In some users, a 5 to 10 milligram dose has been shown to cause behavior symptomatic of schizophrenia.