Phencyclidine (PCP) is a recreational drug that has gained widespread popularity in the party scene. It is also known as ‘angel dust’ and ‘peace pill’. PCP is a dissociative drug which means it distorts senses and induces hallucinations. In high doses, it can be extremely dangerous for users because of its dissociative properties.

If you or someone you know abuses PCP and its use is negatively impacting your life, get help today by finding an interventionist who can assist you with setting up an intervention with your loved one. Read on to find out about risks of PCP and how we can help you or a loved one struggling with substance use.

What is PCP?

PCP, also known by its full name Phencyclidine, is a dissociative drug that is used as a recreational drug. It was originally developed as an anesthetic agent in the 1950s, but, due to its hallucinogenic properties, it was removed from use in the 1960s. PCP is found as a white crystalline powder that has a chemical composition of C10H13ClN.

The drug can be ingested as a capsule or tablet, smoked as a dried leaf or sprayed on a leafy material, and/or injected. PCP is a controlled substance that is listed under Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs are substances or medications that can be abused but have a medical application as well. PCP is also listed under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, a treaty that regulates the international trade of substances that can alter mental states.

pcp risks and side effects

How Long Do The Effects of PCP Last?

When smoked, the effects may begin within a few minutes and last for several hours. When PCP is ingested orally, the effects may take longer to onset, typically within 30-60 minutes, and can last for several hours. The peak effects of PCP are usually reached within 30 minutes to an hour after use.

Will PCP Show On A Drug Test?

A PCP drug test is a type of drug screening that detects the presence of PCP in a person’s system. These tests may be performed on urine, blood, or hair samples. PCP can remain detectable in urine for up to 7 days after use, in blood for up to 24 hours, and in hair for up to 90 days. In a drug test, PCP is usually detected using immunoassay technology, which involves the use of antibodies to detect the presence of PCP or its metabolites in a sample. If the test is positive, it is usually confirmed with a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) test or another more specific method.

Short-term effects of PCP

  • Euphoria: PCP can induce a feeling of euphoria in users, making them feel relaxed and uninhibited.
  • Hallucinations: PCP can cause auditory and visual hallucinations, including weird noises and images.
  • Increased heart rate: PCP can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Decreased blood flow: PCP can cause a decrease in blood flow to the extremities.
  • Breathing difficulties: PCP can cause breathing difficulties in users, and can also lead to death in extreme cases.
  • Body temperature regulation problems: PCP can cause body temperature regulation issues in users, leading to hypothermia or hyperthermia in extreme cases.
  • Slurred speech: PCP can cause speech difficulties in users, making them slur their speech.
  • Lack of coordination: PCP can cause loss of balance and coordination in users.
  • Loss of sense of time: PCP can cause time distortion in users, making it seem like minutes have passed when in reality hours have gone by.
PCP can cause auditory and visual hallucinations

Long-term effects of PCP

  • Changes in the brain: Long-term abuse can cause changes in the brain, including the degeneration of neurons and cognitive issues.
  • Brain damage: Long-term abuse can lead to brain damage and permanent cognitive issues.
  • Permanent psychological problems: Long-term abuse can cause permanent psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia-like symptoms.
  • Permanent heart issues: Long-term abuse can lead to heart issues, including a possibly fatal irregular heartbeat.
  • Permanent kidney issues: Long-term abuse can lead to kidney issues, including kidney failure.
  • Permanent lung issues: Long-term abuse can lead to lung issues, including pneumonia.
  • Permanent liver issues: Long-term abuse can lead to liver issues, including liver failure.
: Long-term abuse of PCP can lead to brain damage and permanent cognitive issues.

Does PCP Affect Other Medications?

PCP can have dangerous reactions with other prescribed medications, leading to potentially dangerous or life-threatening consequences. The specific effects of PCP on other medications can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of medication, the dosage, the individual’s health status, and other factors.

Some medications that may interact with PCP include:

  • Sedatives and tranquilizers: PCP can enhance the sedative effects of these drugs, leading to excessive sedation, respiratory depression, and coma.
  • Antidepressants: PCP can reduce the effectiveness of some antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause agitation, hallucinations, confusion, and seizures.
  • Antipsychotic medications: PCP can worsen the symptoms of some psychiatric disorders and interact with antipsychotic medications, leading to unpredictable effects on mental health.
  • Stimulants: PCP can interact with stimulants, such as amphetamines or cocaine, leading to unpredictable effects on the nervous system and cardiovascular system.
PCP can have dangerous reactions

What Are The Risks of Using PCP

– Intravenous use: PCP can lead to infections when injected intravenously, increasing the risk of blood-borne diseases.
– Lack of hygiene: PCP can cause a lack of hygiene in users, leading to infections.
– Lack of nutrition: PCP can cause users to neglect their diet, leading to nutrient deficiencies.
– Sexual risk-taking: PCP can cause users to engage in high-risk sexual behavior, including unprotected sex, increasing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
– Lack of judgment: PCP can cause users to make poor decisions, putting them at risk of dangerous situations.
– Self-harm: PCP can cause users to engage in self-harm, including suicide attempts.
– Violent and aggressive behavior: PCP can cause violent and aggressive behavior, putting users and others at risk of injury.
– Lack of emotional regulation: PCP can cause users to have difficulty regulating their emotions, leading to emotional outbursts.
– Issues with child care: PCP can cause users to neglect child care, putting children at risk of injury.
– Issues with finances: PCP can cause users to neglect their finances, leading to financial issues.

PCP can cause violent and aggressive behavior

How to Help a Loved One Who Is Abusing PCP

If you suspect that a loved one is abusing PCP, it is important to intervene as soon as possible. Early intervention can help loved ones get the help and treatment they need to overcome their addiction. PCP abuse is dangerous and can lead to a number of adverse health effects.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent unhealthy behaviors and help those who are already struggling. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or mental health, it is important to get treatment. At Asheville Recovery Center treatment specialists utilize a 12-step program and practice holistic rehabilitation. 

Services at our rehab center include:

Partial Hospitalization Program – At Asheville Recovery Center we offer a partial hospitalization program for clients who need post-residential treatment as well as for clients who need primary treatment but are unable to enroll in inpatient programs. Our PHP track offers a variety of therapeutic services and benefits to individuals in early recovery from substance addiction.  

Outpatient Rehabilitation – During intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), clients live at home or in a sober living residence while completing an addiction treatment program. IOP is a place where clients can process their experiences in twelve-step fellowships and support one another in those individual journeys. Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call and speak with an addiction expert today.

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