Everything you need to know about PCP Abuse

What is PCP?

PCP (phencyclidine), also known as “angel dust,” distorts the user’s perceptions of sight and sound and produces feelings of detachment from the environment and from themselves.

What does PCP look like?

In its pure form, PCP is a white crystalline powder that is easily dissolved in water or alcohol; however, a number of contaminants may be added during manufacturing that will cause the color to range from tan to brown and the consistency to range from powder to a gummy mass. It is sold in tablets, capsules, liquid, crystals, pastes, and may be dyed various colors in powdered form.

How is PCP used?

PCP can be snorted as powder, swallowed as a tablet or capsule, or smoked by applying it in powdered form to leafy substances such as marijuana, mint, parsley or oregano. It can also be smoked by dipping a marijuana or tobacco cigarette into liquid PCP. It has a distinctive and bitter chemical taste.

Effects of PCP

Most first-time users experience a bad “trip” and never use it again, but persistent abuse can cause permanent damage.

Physical effects include:
* Shallow breathing
* Flushing
* Profuse sweating
* Nausea and vomiting
* Blurred vision
* “Flicking” up and down of eyes
* Drooling
* Loss of balance and dizziness
* Slurred speech or the inability to speak at all

Psychological effects include:
* Unpredictable and often violent behavior
* Increased risk of suicide
* Mood changes
* Anxiety

Long-term effects include:
* Addiction
* Memory loss
* Difficulty with speech or thought
* Depression
* Weight loss
* Flashbacks
* Mood disorders

Consequences of PCP

PCP is an addictive drug that can cause psychological dependence, craving and compulsive behavior. It produces psychological effects that are so unpleasant that users often become violent or suicidal. High doses of PCP can cause seizures, coma and even death as a consequence of accidental injury or suicide while under the drug’s effects. The effects of PCP at high doses may also resemble symptoms of schizophrenia. Young people who abuse PCP are particularly at risk because even moderate use can negatively affect the hormones responsible for normal growth and development and can stunt learning abilities.

PCP Facts and Statistics

* 6.1 million people over the age of 12 reported they used PCP in their lifetime. (NSDUH, 2007)
* 1.8 percent of high school senior reported using PCP in their lifetime. (MTF, 2008)


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.