Precautions for using PCP

Phencyclidine (PCP), commonly known as Angel Dust, has been part of the drug industry since the 1960s. It is used in the form of white crystalline powder, or smoked as a “fry” or hemp cigarettes mixed with pentachlorophenol. The effects of PCP are unpredictable, and the side effects vary from person to person, ranging from sensory changes to schizophrenia-like behavior to stroke.

Also known as: Some slang and street names used by PCP include Angel Dust, Hog, Rocket Fuel, DOA, Peace Pill, Supergrass, Ozone, Wack, Cliffhanger, Happy Sticks, Trank, Letha Weapon, and Kools.

Drug category: PCP is classified as a hallucinogen and has the same properties as other dissociative drugs.

Common side effects: The side effects of using PCP include numbness, loss of coordination, disorientation, confusion, dizziness, nausea, hallucinations, sense of separation, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure.

How to identify PCP

PCP is a white crystalline powder, easily soluble in water or alcohol. Therefore, it can appear in liquid form. Since pentachlorophenol can be easily mixed with dyes, it can also come in various colors in the form of powders, tablets and capsules. It is sometimes sold as a powder wrapped in metal foil.

What does PCP do?

PCP is called a dissociative anesthetic because the person using the drug is “disconnected” from the surrounding environment. Within 20 to 90 minutes of oral PCP, people report feeling happy and may experience distorted perceptions of light, color, sound, and touch, as well as changes in time. Some people say they feel “physically unwell” or experience feelings of detachment.

People who abuse PCP often tout strength, strength, and a sense of invulnerability. Others enjoy the numbing effect of PCP on the mind. As an anesthetic, PCP can significantly reduce pain.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that PCP actually increases muscle strength.However, the drug may increase aggressive behavior and interfere with perception, so people who use it may be think They can break through steel.

PCP can be eaten, smoked, injected or smoked. If you smoke the drug, you can feel the effects of the drug within 2 to 5 minutes (this drug is usually used in leafy materials such as mint, parsley, oregano, or marijuana).The methods used to bring PCP into the body can change its effects and the duration of these effects.

Very good / Cindy Chung

What the experts say

Shortly after it was introduced as a street drug in the 1960s, Pentachlorophenol became known for causing adverse reactions. People who abuse PCP may become violent or suicidal while taking the drug.

PCP can cause hallucinogenic effects, which can last for days or weeks and cause psychotic symptoms similar to schizophrenia.

Previously approved use

PCP was developed as an intravenous anesthetic in the 1950s and sold under the Sernyl brand. It was discontinued in 1965 after patients taking the drug had a psychotic reaction, but the drug is still widely used in veterinary medicine as an animal tranquilizer.

Pentachlorophenol is now mainly produced illegally. Some PCPs are legally produced for research purposes.

Since almost all PCP production is illegal, there are no purity or dosage standards. Therefore, it is impossible to know how much has been taken, which makes its use particularly dangerous.

Common side effects

PCP can have different effects on different people. The way and amount of medicine taken will also change the effect of PCP.

Depending on the dose, pentachlorophenol can produce the following effects:

  • Low and medium doses: numbness, confusion, dizziness, nausea, changes in sensory perception, hallucinations, detachment, changes in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • High dose: dangerous high blood pressure and elevated body temperature, aggressiveness, psychological stress, hallucinations, memory loss.

PCP will not turn a person into a cannibal or casual killer unless they are already inclined to these violent behaviors. It does cause hallucinogenic effects, which can last for days or weeks and cause psychotic symptoms similar to schizophrenia.

Because PCP may have a sedative effect, if the drug is taken with other sedatives (such as alcohol or benzodiazepines), it may cause coma. If the person you care about loses consciousness and does not respond to verbal or physical attempts to wake them up, please call 911 immediately and tell them what measures have been taken.

Signs of use

In addition to paying attention to the drug itself (which may be “french fries” or cigarettes or joints soaked in pentachlorophenol) and any drug paraphernalia (such as paper rolls or pipes), be aware of any changes in appearance and behavior on the body. These may include new sleeping and eating habits, changes in friends, or loss of interest in sports and other social activities.

According to the Toxic Free Children’s Partnership, parents should be aware of the following physical signs of PCP use:

  • Flushing and heavy sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flip your eyelids up and down
  • Confused or divorced from reality

In view of the inconsistencies in the formulation, the purity and strength of PCP are unpredictable and cannot be administered, which makes it easier to overdose. Signs of PCP overdose include:

  • Excitement (excessive excitement, violent behavior)
  • Left and right eye movements
  • Lack of coordination
  • Uncontrolled movement
  • Hallucinations
  • twitch
  • hypertension
  • Mental illness
  • Altered state of consciousness
  • Tonic trance (cannot speak, move or react)
  • coma

Tolerance, dependence and withdrawal

PCP is classified as a Schedule II substance, which means that it has a “high probability” of being abused and may cause physical and psychological dependence. More importantly, people who use PCP can build tolerance to drugs, which means that over time, they need more and more drugs to experience the same “climax.”

How long does the PCP stay in your system?

According to drug testing, PCP can be detected within a few days or months. Factors including metabolism, weight, age, hydration level and frequency of use all play a role. The PCP drug test schedule estimate includes the following:

Type of test Detectable length of time
Urine 1 day to 4 weeks (heavy use)
blood 24 hours
saliva 1 to 10 days
Hair follicle Up to 90 days


Despite the serious adverse consequences, repeated use of PCP can still lead to craving and compulsive pursuit of PCP, which means that it is an addictive substance.

According to the latest Manual of Diagnosis and Statistics of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Phencyclidine use disorder occurs when a person takes PCP and encounters at least two of the following problems within 12 months:

  • Taking more PCP than expected
  • Unable to reduce or control use
  • Spend most of the time acquiring, using or recovering from PCP
  • Building tolerance
  • Experience desire
  • Failure to fulfill normal role expectations in school, work or family
  • Despite social or interpersonal problems, continue to use PCP
  • Quit social, professional or entertainment activities
  • Taking PCP when it is dangerous to yourself or others
  • Use PCP despite physical or psychological problems


People who suddenly stop using PCP may experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, which are not life-threatening, but may require the attention of trained medical professionals.Many experts recommend medical detoxification under supervision to help better cope with PCP withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • eager
  • Puzzled
  • Frustrated

For people with a long history of drug use, withdrawal symptoms include flashbacks, hallucinations, memory loss, speech and thinking difficulties, weight loss, depression, and other emotional disorders, and can last up to one year after quitting smoking.

How to get help

People who experience “bad travel” during PCP are usually placed in quiet areas or rooms with little sensory stimulation. Sometimes, patients take benzodiazepines to control seizures or extremely agitated behaviors.

Although there are no known treatments specifically for PCP addiction, hospitalization and proven therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people better understand their addiction and any concurrent mental illness.

With the right medical guidance, it is possible to recover from PCP addiction and learn how to avoid triggers, take better care of the body and mind, and build a supportive community.

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