PCP

Drawing pcp chemical formula

Defining PCP

PCP or phencyclidine is a white crystalline powder that dissolves readily in water. Its primary intended use is as an anesthetic and analgesic. It is an NMDA receptor antagonist and works by preventing the activity of NMDA receptors. Being an antiglutamatergic hallucinogenic drug, it is far more dangerous than other categories of hallucinogens. Due to its numerous side effects and long half-life in the human body, its use as an anesthetic was discontinued.

In 1967, PCP began to emerge as a recreational drug in major cities of the United States. Consumed in combination with marijuana and other recreational drugs like Alcohol, LSD and Tobacco. PCP is sold under several street names such as Angel dust, Kristal joint, Rocket Fuel etc. PCP is believed to be one of the most dangerous illicit drugs available on the streets. People consume it for recreational use due to its ability to cause dissociation from one’s body and surroundings, feeling of imperviousness and strength, hallucinations etc. It is known to cause episodes of rage and violence in some users. At high doses, PCP can put a user in a coma, cause seizures or even death.

Side Effects of PCP

Short-Term

  • Profuse sweating
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Dissociation from body and surroundings
  • Feeling of imperviousness and strength
  • Numbness
  • Rapid movement of eyes
  • Slurred Speech
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Amnesia
  • Paranoia
  • Severe anxiety
  • Psychosis

Long-Term

  • Psychological dependence
  • Depression
  • Slowed growth in adolescents
  • Problems with learning and speech
  • Weight loss

Addiction and Overdose

PCP is an addictive drug, which can lead to psychological dependence and cause an addict to compulsively crave a dose. The United States Controlled Substances Act has classified PCP as a Schedule II substance. PCP addiction can have a devastating effect on the life of an individual. Prolonged addiction and use can lead to depression, memory loss, weight loss, problems related to learning and speech as well as slow growth in adolescents.

An overdose of PCP can be lethal. It is not usually the PCP that kills a person but its effects that make a person violent or suicidal, which leads to death. Such a person may be a threat to himself or herself and everyone around. There have been reports of people committing murder and mutilating others/their own body while under the influence of PCP. Due to these reasons, PCP is considered to be one of the most dangerous drugs available. In case of an overdose, the user should immediately get medical attention. Symptoms of an overdose include the following:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Drooling
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Convulsions
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Faint pulse
  • Loss of balance
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Kidney failure

In case an individual presents any of the above mentioned symptoms, he or she should immediately get medical attention.

Treatment

PCP addiction, like most other drug addictions can be cured with a combination of rehabilitation, counseling and therapy, which may involve behavior therapy, group therapy, family therapy etc. The patient may exhibit extreme violent behavior which may merit that he or she might need be sedated or placed in restrains to prevent him or her from hurting himself or herself or other people around. To recover from the psychotic state induced by an overdose of PCP, the patient might need to be confined to a dark and peaceful room, alone for however long the physician deems necessary.

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