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What is PCP?
Phencyclidine (PCP) is an illegal street drug that usually comes as a white powder, which can be dissolved in alcohol or water. It can be bought as a powder or liquid.

What is its origin?
PCP (phencyclidine) was developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic, but its use for humans was discontinued because it caused patients to become agitated, delusional, and irrational. Today individuals abuse PCP because of the mind-altering, hallucinogenic effects it produces.

What are common street names?
Common street names include: angel dust, embalming fluid, hog, killer weed, love boat, ozone, peace pill, rocket fuel, super grass, and wack.

What does it look like?
PCP is a bitter-tasting, white crystalline powder that is easy to dissolve in water or alcohol. PCP may be dyed various colors and often is sold as a tablet, capsule, liquid, or powder.

How is it abused?

Users snort PCP powder, swallow tablets and capsules, or smoke the drug by applying it (in powder form) to a leafy substance such as marijuana, mint, parsley, or oregano. In addition, users increasingly are dipping marijuana or tobacco cigarettes in liquid PCP and smoking them.

What is its legal status in the United States? PCP is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs, which include cocaine and methamphetamine, have a high potential for abuse. Abuse of these drugs may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

What is its effect on the mind?

PCP is in a class of drugs called hallucinogens. These are substances that cause hallucinations. These are things that you see, hear, or feel while awake that appear to be real, but instead have been created by the mind.

PCP is also known as a dissociative drug. It causes you to feel separated from your body and surroundings. Using PCP may make you feel:

  • You are floating and disconnected from reality.

  • Joy (euphoria, or "rush") and less inhibition, similar to being drunk on alcohol.

  • Your sense of thinking is extremely clear, and that you have superhuman strength and aren't afraid of anything.


What is its effect on the body?

High doses of PCP can cause seizures, coma, and even death (often as a consequence of accidental injury or suicide while under the drug's effects). At high doses, PCP's effects may resemble the symptoms associated with schizophrenia, including delusions and paranoia.

Long-term use of PCP can lead to memory loss, difficulty with speech or thought, depression, and weight loss. These problems can persist for up to a year after an individual has stopped using PCP.

Which drugs cause similar effects?
Phencyclidine (PCP), ketamine, and dextromethorphan (DXM) are three common types of dissociative anesthetics. Both PCP and ketamine were originally developed as general anesthetics to be used during surgery. Dextromethorphan is a common ingredient in cough suppressant medications.

Testing for PCP

You can order a phencyclidine drug test that analyzes nail, hairurine or sweat patch sample. Urine phencyclidine drug tests will indicate PCP usage after approximately five hours of use, and up to a week or two after the fact. Test for PCP is one of the requirements of DOT drug testing programs.

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