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What Happens When You Take PCP?

There has been so much buzz and coverage around the opioid epidemic and prescription drugs these past 10 years or so that you kind of lose the awareness that there are other kinds of drugs that are out there. A drug that has been around for years even decades. Hallucinogens or dissociative drugs have been around since the ‘50s and maybe even longer. They were popular in the ’60s and 70’s around Woodstock. When everyone was for “free love” and trying to free their minds and experimenting with hallucinogens. Such drugs as:

  • LSD
  • Psilocybin (magic mushrooms)
  • peyote (mescaline)
  • DMT
  • Ketamine (Special K)
  • PCP (phencyclidine)

Both hallucinogens and dissociative drugs can cause hallucinations or sensations and images that seem real though they are not. But, dissociative drugs, such as PCP, can cause users to feel out of control or disconnected from their body and environment, which can make them dangerous to the user and to those around them. What Happens When You Take PCP?

Where Does PCP Come From?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), PCP (Phencyclidine) was developed in the 1950s as a general anesthetic for surgery, but it is no longer used for this purpose due to the serious side effects. PCP can be found in a variety of forms, including tablets or capsules; however, liquid and white crystal powder are the most common. PCP has various slang names, such as Angel Dust, Hog, Love Boat, and Peace Pill. After the word got around town that PCP had some serious side effects and psychotic reactions production of it stopped and was only made illegally after the 1960s. IT also wasn’t very popular with illicit drug users when it hit the streets in the 1960s due to its reputation for causing bad reactions. Even though it wasn’t that popular doesn’t mean that nobody uses it. It is still made but nearly all PCP production is illegal and there is no standard for purity or dosage. As a result, there is no way to know how much is being taken, making its use particularly dangerous.

PCP Addiction & How it Affects You

So since there have been mostly bad “reviews” about this drug, what would make someone want to use it in the first place you wonder. When a person uses PCP, whether by smoking, injecting, drinking or eating, they expect to feel a pleasant high and hallucinate. At first, the individual might feel happy, and how they see their surroundings may not be extreme hallucinations but there are changes to light, color, sound, and touch. The individual may lose the sense of time, either slowing down or speeding up, or they can feel out of or above their bodies. Any effects of PCP begin within 30-60 minutes after it has been ingested orally, or a few minutes if smoked or injected. Depending on the size and potency of the dose, effects can last for 4-6 hours or as long as 24 hours. If anyone has taken PCP they will show signs of intoxication:

  • Blank stare
  • Rapid, involuntary eye movements, typically side to side
  • Changes to stride or gait
  • Drooling
  • Loss of balance
  • Catatonic trance
  • Twitches, shudders, or random, uncontrolled movements
  • Physical exertion without the perception of pain or muscle strain
  • Sweating or flushing due to increased body temperature

When a person takes PCP they will experience several side effects, which can be physically dangerous such as:

  • Raised blood pressure
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Raised body temperature
  • Increased respiration or gasping for air
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Because of the desired effects of PCP it can be abused and used for long periods of time. Those who have gained an addiction will experience withdrawal symptoms after the drug wears off including:

  • Memory loss or amnesia
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Drug craving
  • Fatigue or increased need for sleep
  • Increased appetite

What Are Long-Term Effects of PCP Abuse?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) states that effects of long-term PCP use include persistent speech difficulties, memory loss, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and social withdrawal that may persist for a year or more after chronic use stops. At Evoke Wellness Miramar we understand that many addicts continue the use of drugs because of their fear of withdrawal. We ensure our client is as comfortable as possible through these difficult days through our 24- hour medical detox program, behavioral health tech supports, and individual and group therapy sessions. Our experienced medical staff is available to monitor, medicate and minimize your withdrawal symptoms. Our team of experienced professionals, in conjunction with our highly personalized detox treatment plan, will help you get through this phase with a high level of comfort. We want to make this process as comfortable as possible, while also ensuring a smooth transition to your next step in sobriety.