Phencyclidine or PCP first received bad reputation as a dangerous drug in the 80s when it was starting to make a name among club goers. It immediately resulted in a fewer number of individuals who abused the drug. However, the exposure of the newer generation to it is deepening once again.
The PCP phenomenon first began to appear in 2012 and has continued its popularity in the past decades. Generally, PCP is grouped together with the other club drugs such as Ecstasy, ketamine, Rohypnol, and LSD- all of which have extremely risky side effects.
“Rocket Fuel,” “Animal Tank” and “Angel Dust” are just a few of the street names of drugs containing PCP, the infamous hallucinogenic drug. It is a dissociative substance that can create the delusion of super strength, enhanced social and sexual abilities, as well as euphoria. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health was, in fact, able to determine that 6.1 million people in the U.S. aged 12 and above have reported a lifetime of PCP use.
- PCP is mostly being used by students in high school including young adults.
- There is a significant increase of PCP-related hospital visits from an estimated 37, 266 in 2008 and 53, 542 in 2010.
- The Drug Abuse Warning Network or DAWN revealed that PCP is the most prevalent drug in African American men between 21-24 years of age.
- PCP-related ER visits went up 400% from 2005-2011 and increases were found in both males and females.
- In 2011, 69% of PCP-related ER visits were males and the largest age group was the 24-35 years old bracket.
PCP is only the abbreviated term for Phenylcylohexyl piperidine. According to reports, the street name of Phencyclidine known as “the peace pill” also gave birth to the abbreviated term PCP.
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The drug was originally released in 1950 by Parke Davis and Company. It was meant to be an anesthetic pharmaceutical; however, during that time, PCP was under the trade name Sernyl. By 1957 it was recommended for use in clinical trials to be tested on humans.
Selling PCP became illegal in the U.S. in 1978. In the recent times, PCP is classified under Schedule II drugs. Thus, there is a high probability that the drug will be abused and the user can also become physically and/or psychologically dependent on the drug.
There has been little research done about PCP as a physiologically addictive drug. However, it has already been established as a highly psychologically addictive drug as users tend to develop tolerance to the drug over time. The symptoms of a PCP user are:
- Disassociation from reality
- Vacant staring
- Involuntary eye movements
- Loss of balance
- Shallow breathing
The repeated use of PCP in high doses may also lead to severe psychological problems. Users can develop anxiety and paranoia as well as other symptoms similar to schizophrenia. Users could also have the unrealistic perception of strength and irrational tendencies that often result in violent acts towards others and on themselves. In worst cases, it can even lead to suicides.
Prolonged use of PCP can also lead to amnesia, weight loss, depression, and difficulty concentrating. The symptoms can last for a year or even more even after quitting PCP use. Among adolescents, the use of PCP can also affect growth hormones.
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