The Different Effects of PCP and How It is Creating New Drug Addicts

Since the development of PCP (Phencyclidine) in the 1950s, the substance has been responsible for thousands of addictions.  It was developed for medical applications as an intravenous anesthetic.  But, the adverse effects of PCP such as hallucinations, delirium, and mania resulted in the drug being banned from medical use in the 1960s. The side effects of smoking dust are the same.  Today, PCP is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Recently, there is an upsurge of interest in PCP by young people who want to get high.  Part of this upsurge is due to a convenient new method of consuming the drug that produces an intense high.  This new process involves soaking cigarettes or marijuana joints in the liquid form of PCP.  Users enjoy this convenient method because they can smoke on the fly.  This new form is just one of the ways PCP is creating new drug addicts.

What is “Wet” PCP?

Back in the 1990s, PCP use among young people dropped significantly.  But, today, the numbers are on the rise again.  The “angel dust” of the ‘80s has been replaced with a new form known as “wet.”  In large cities, young hustlers peddle their drug by calling out “wet, wet, wet.”  They are targeting a specific kind of customer who isn’t looking for heroin or coke. These customers are young people who are looking to get “wetted up.”  Sadly, by sun-up, many of them end up strapped to gurneys in a crisis response center because they experienced a severe psychotic episode after smoking this drug.

PCP is prepared for smoking by dissolving it in ether, which is a highly flammable solvent.  This liquid is then sprayed onto a leafy material such as mint, oregano, parsley, tobacco, or marijuana.  The fluid can also be injected.  Most of the people who are attracted to this drug are in their teens and early twenties.  Adults tend to avoid the drug because of the side effects of PCP such as psychosis or other mental effects.  Some of the side psychotic impacts of angel dust resemble schizophrenia.  The effects of PCP are unpredictable, and each person reacts differently to the drug.  Publicly available videos show PCP users walking around naked, lying in the road, or attacking people around them.  These individuals appear to be impervious to pain and unresponsive to touch.

Other Side Effects of PCP Abuse

PCP abuse can cause a range of side effects that can become dangerous, especially for those who have a history of mental or emotional problems.

Short-term effects of PCP:

  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Slurred speech
  • Erratic behavior
  • Depression
  • Anxiety, agitation
  • Paranoid behavior
  • Isolation
  • Panic attacks
  • Hostility

Long-term effects of PCP:

  • Persistent speech problems
  • Flashbacks
  • Sudden onset psychosis
  • Impaired memory
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Other dangers inherent in PCP abuse are often the result of the impurity of the substance.  Most PCP is produced in makeshift labs by people who are using the drug themselves.  These individuals usually mix PCP with ecstasy, Ketamine, or other toxic additives.

What Does PCP Look Like?

The pure form of Phencyclidine is a white, crystalline powder.  It can be dissolved quickly in alcohol or water.  The substance also comes in pill form, capsules, or colored powders.  PCP has a strong taste that is diminished by applying it to flavored leaves such as mint, oregano, parsley, or tobacco.  The color of PCP varies due to contaminants that change the color to range from light brown to a darker shade.  The consistency varies also ranging from a gummy mass to a powdery substance.

How is PCP Ingested?

PCP users are very creative about finding ways to get high with the drug.  For instance, they may take the tablet form orally, snort the powdered form, inject the liquid form, or smoke the “wet” kind.

How Does it Feel to be High on PCP?

It’s not always possible to predict the side effects of PCP.  Each person reacts differently depending on physical health, mental health, or the presence of other substances in the body. Of course, the effects are also influenced by the method of ingestion and the amount taken. Other factors to consider are genetics, brain chemistry, brain chemical imbalances, environment, and mood.

In most cases a PCP high makes the user feel detached from their physical body. The user is also desensitized to pain which often results in injuries.  Many users experience sensitivity to light and sound.  These different effects of PCP often cause hallucinations or psychotic episodes.  The person imagines they see demons or dragons or other strange things.  Other users will sit alone, staring into space and appear to be tranquil.  Reactions to sudden noise or bright lights can bring on violent behavior.  When this happens, the person’s inability to experience pain can make them seem super-humanly strong when someone tries to subdue them.  Some PCP users remove all their clothing because they feel unbearably hot.  They may jump into anything that looks like water in an attempt to cool down.

Are There Withdrawal Symptoms from PCP?

When PCP is withheld, the person can experience some dangerous withdrawal symptoms.  For this reason, it is strongly advised that the individual seeks professional help.  Some of the symptoms of PCP withdrawal can include the following:

  • Confusion, poor memory
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased reflexes
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Anxiety
  • Speech problems
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Coma
  • Death

Chemical and psychological dependence on PCP can lead to binge usage that results in loss of appetite and inability to sleep.  Persistent binge usage can have devastating effects on a person’s mental and physical well-being.

Treatment for PCP Addiction

As mentioned earlier, the best way to undergo PCP withdrawal is through a professional detox and rehab program.  Because of the intense and possibly dangerous symptoms, the individual should be supervised and monitored by specialists.  An inpatient facility provides this level of care and is a proven method for helping people overcome any addiction.  Treatment begins with detox.  After detoxing, the person immediately enters a rehabilitation program. When the person completes rehab, an aftercare program will help them remain on the right track as they go back into society, drug-free.

An inpatient rehab program is designed to help a person understand the reasons for their drug abuse.  Patients participate in regularly scheduled activities and classes that restore self-confidence and instill a renewed sense of self-worth.  Some of the program options include, but are not limited to:

  • Group and individual counseling
  • Life skills training
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Nutritional guidance
  • Music and art therapy
  • Fitness and exercise routines
  • Relaxation techniques, meditation
  • Faith-based programs
  • Family services

Each aspect of the program is included to help the patient achieve specific goals.  Recovery from addiction requires much more than merely abstaining from the substance.  The person must learn methods for relapse prevention.  They must also re-learn the skills needed for daily functioning.  A confident, positive-thinking individual is less likely to fall victim to substance abuse.

As PCP continues to create new addicts, addiction treatment programs continue to build newly recovered addicts.  We are saving lives, one addict at a time.  At About Addiction, we know the level of expertise required to bring a person out of addiction.  We can help you choose the best program for your specific needs.  Please call our toll-free number today and get started on your new life.  It could be the most important phone call you’ll ever make.

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