Phencyclidine (PCP), otherwise known as Angel Dust, is a mind-altering dissociative drug that can cause hallucinations and distortions in a person’s perception of reality.
Structurally similar to ketamine (Special K), PCP use can induce a distortion of sights, colors, sounds, self, and environment. PCP is an addictive Schedule II drug, and use may lead to psychological dependence, cravings, and compulsive drug-seeking behavior.
In its purest form, PCP is found as a white crystalline powder that easily dissolves in alcohol or water and has a bitter, chemical taste. On the black market, PCP may contain many contaminants that cause the color to range from tan to brown with a powdery to sticky consistency.
How Is PCP Used?
PCP can be found in tablets, capsules, and colored powders, which are either consumed orally, smoked, snorted or injected. Smoking is thought to be the most common method of administration when used recreationally. The liquid solution form of the illicit Angel Dust drug is actually PCP base frequently dissolved in ether, a highly flammable solvent. When smoked, PCP is usually sprayed onto leafy organic material such as parsley, oregano, or marijuana. Psychoactive effects can last for 4 to 6 hours.
Angel Dust Drug Effects
Many contend that PCP is one of the most dangerous drugs of abuse. Even a modest amount of PCP can cause users to feel detached, withdrawn, and disengaged from their environment. Numbness in the arms and legs, impaired coordination, and slurred speech are effects that may also be accompanied by feelings of vigor and invulnerability.
A vacant stare, accelerated and involuntary eye movements and an exaggerated gait are among the more obvious effects. Auditory hallucinations, image distortions, profound mood disorders, and memory loss may also occur. Severe anxiety may occur, accompanied by feelings of impending doom, paranoia, extreme hostility, and psychosis comparable to schizophrenia.
The physiological effects of low to moderate doses of PCP include the following:
- Shallow respiration
- Accelerated breathing rate
- Increase in blood pressure and pulse rate
- Flushing and excessive sweating
The physiological effects of high doses of PCP include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurry vision
- Violent behavior
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Impaired balance and dizziness
- Flicking upward and downward of the eyes
- Decreased blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration
High doses of Angel Dust can also induce seizures, coma, and death, often due to unintentional injury or suicide during intoxication. Psychological effects at high doses also include delusions and hallucinations.
Angel Dust Abuse and Addiction
Today, many falsely believe that Angel Dust is a problem of the past. In some areas such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., however, PCP use has persisted and accounts for as many as 10% of positive drug tests upon arrest. Also, in other cities where Angel Dust use declined to negligible levels in the 1990s, law enforcement and addiction professionals are now concerned that the drug is making a comeback.
In fact, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), PCP-related emergency department visits increased by more than 400% from 14,825 to 75,538 between 2005 and 2011.
Also, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that “the number of past-year initiates of PCP aged 12 or older was 90,000, up from the 2011 estimate of 48,000.”
The majority of these new users are young and seeking an affordable high more intense than cannabis, and purchase the drug in a form referred to as “wet,” a liquid tincture used to soak marijuana, tobacco, or tea mint leaves, which are then smoked.
Treatment for PCP Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to the Angel Dust drug, please seek professional help as soon as possible. Upon admission to Harmony Treatment and Wellness, our clinical team of addiction specialists will collaborate to develop a personalized, comprehensive treatment plan. This plan will be tailored to your recovery needs and goals and includes all the therapeutic services and support necessary for the maintenance of long-lasting sobriety and wellness.
Our clinical programs blend a range of innovative, evidence-based addiction treatment approaches that help patients identify obstacles to sobriety and develop the skills to overcome them. Within a therapeutic and supportive environment, you can reengage with your true self, redefine your hopes and goals, and create a fulfilling and healthy future for yourself beyond drug abuse and addiction.
Because the psychological effects of drug and alcohol addiction are often stubborn and persistent, the services we offer, such as aftercare planning, are far-reaching. We will work with your outpatient healthcare providers to assure continuity of care and promote ongoing healing. Together, we can build a foundation for long-lasting sobriety and improved well-being.
Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers comprehensive partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment for people suffering from addiction to PCP, other drugs, and alcohol, as well as co-occurring mental health conditions.
Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment programs and how we can help you or a loved one start the journey toward recovery!