PCP (Phencyclidine) Addiction | Drug Addiction Treatment

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Categories: Drug Addiction

PCP AddictionWhen police officers and medical emergency personnel talk about drug addicts, the kind they mention as the most troublesome are those using PCP. People under the influence of angel dust/a> can become violent, appear to have super strength, and behave bizarrely. It can take five EMTs to restrain them.1

They are also known to commit notorious crimes. The rapper Big Lurch is now serving a life term in prison for murdering a woman whose body parts had his tooth marks on them.2 A woman in Camden, New Jersey, beheaded her toddler in August 2012,3 and two weeks later, a New Jersey man slit the throats of two young children.4 All of them had been using PCP.

PCP, which causes altered states of consciousness, reached its peak of popularity in the 1960s, when the U.S. federal government’s annual Monitoring the Future Study found that 13% of American teenagers had tried it. That percentage kept going down until the early 1990s, when the drug regained popularity at raves and night clubs, and then declined again.

Today PCP appears to be regaining popularity. Teenagers are again experimenting with hallucinogens, including bath salts/a>, and are using more marijuana compared to alcohol. Marijuana is often laced with PCP.5

In early 2012, New York police arrested members of a gang who were selling over a thousand bags of PCP a day to hundreds of regular customers. At the time, the Police Commissioner said, “These trends ebb and flow, but I don’t think PCP ever really went away.”6

What is PCP?

PCP is an abbreviation for phencyclidine, a manmade drug first synthesized in 1926. In 1952 Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals marketed it under the brand name Sernyl as an intravenous anesthesia used for surgeries, but discontinued it in 1965 because it had too many side effects. Patients would cause extra work for hospital staff and endanger themselves when they become paranoid and agitated after their operations, sometimes imagining that terrible things were happening to them.7

The United States government originally classified PCP as a Schedule III Controlled Substance with potential for addiction and some medical uses. This was changed in 1978 to a Schedule II Controlled Substance, defining the drug as one without medical uses and a strong potential for addiction. If you are caught possessing or selling Schedule II drugs like PCP, methamphetamine or cocaine, you can incur severe penalties, such as heavy fees and/or prison sentences.8

PCP is still used as an anesthesia in veterinary medicine.9

PCP is made in clandestine laboratories from common industrial chemicals, such as ingredients in plastic, paint removers and so forth. The formula is to combine piperidine with cyanide and cyclohexanone to make piperidinocyclohexanecarbonitrile (PCC), which is then reacted with phenylmagnesium bromide to make PCP.10 The chemical name for phencyclidine is 1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl)piperidine.

PCP acts on the glutamate receptors in the brain. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that is important in the perception of pain, learning, and the formation of memory.11

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classifies PCP as a hallucinogen/a>. In medical terms, PCP is an anesthetic, and a drug that can be either a stimulant or a depressant, depending on the amount taken. Stimulants drugs speed up the central nervous system, and depressants slow it down.

In its purest form PCP is a white, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that can dissolve in water or alcohol.12

How is PCP Sold Illegally?

PCP is low cost and simple to manufacture in home laboratories. It is mostly supplied and distributed out of California through African-American gangs like the Bloods and Crips, who sell it mainly in large cities, college campuses, and nightclubs.13

PCP comes as a brown or tan liquid, tablets or powder. A gallon of PCP can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000, depending on where you live. An one-ounce liquid container of PCP costs between $125 and $600. People typically dip cigarettes made from marijuana, parsley, oregano or other herbs into liquid PCP and then smoke it. This is the most common way of using PCP.14 PCP smokes very “hot” so it is usually combined with menthol to “cool” it. PCP is used to disguise poor-quality marijuana.

Powder PCP can cost $20 to $30 a gram. It is usually snorted or inhaled through a tube, dissolved in liquid and injected, or added to methamphetamine, cocaine/a>, ecstasy, heroin or Ketamine/a>.

PCP tablets cost about $20 to $30 each, and are simply swallowed.

PCP has a bad reputation even among drug addicts and their dealers, because no one can never be sure of the drug’s purity and therefore it is always impossible to predict its results.

Street names for PCP are embalming fluid, toe tags, KJ (killer joints), wack, rocket fuel, magic dust, angel dust, ozone, Paz, Peter Pan, trank, dust joints, goon dust, happy sticks, kools, OPP, Sherman, animal tranqs, black dust, and tanks. Smoking PCP is sometimes called “getting wet” or “boating” because users can feel as if they are underwater.

Does PCP show up in urine drug tests at work or school?

Yes. In fact, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration requires everyone who works in the transportation or nuclear industries to be tested regularly for PCP, non-synthetic opiates, marijuana, cocaine and amphetamine.15

PCP has a half-life of seven to 46 hours, but it can take 72 hours for it to be eliminated through urine. If a person took a high dose, PCP can be detected for up to seven days in urine tests. If the person is a chronic user of PCP, it may be detected for up to 30 days. It can be detected in the hair for 90 days.16

Why Do People Take PCP?

PCP produces an altered state of consciousness that can commonly last for four to six hours. The trancelike state often includes euphoria, feelings of being detached from one’s body, calmness, disorientation, sedation, and lethargy. Some people have sensory distortions such as feeling that music is the same as color. People taking PCP often cannot concentrate or think of a logical way, and they may have a loss of coordination and hallucinations. This describes a good experience with PCP.17

In worse scenarios, people develop delusions of invulnerability and abnormal strength and may become violent. Since they do not feel pain in an ordinary way, some have pulled out their own teeth, jumped from windows, or committed bizarre crimes.18

PCP intoxication mimics severe mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia. The person will have bizarre behaviors and thoughts, and may be violent, agitated, and combative.19

Other symptoms of PCP intoxication are slurred speech, loss of coordination, strange eye movements, auditory hallucinations, anxiety, aggression, hostility, delusions, paranoia, and catatonia.20

Effects begin within one to five minutes of smoking or injecting PCP, and within one half hour of snorting or taking a PCP tablet. Sensations peak in the first half hour, and last up to six more hours. It can take 24 hours, however, for the person to feel completely normal.21

What Drugs Interact with PCP?

You are more likely to overdose and die if you combine PCP with other drugs that depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol, illegal narcotics, prescription narcotic painkillers, tranquilizers, sedatives, and cold and allergy medications.

What Are the Side Effects of PCP?

The side effects depend on the amount taken.

At low doses between 1mg to 5mg, PCP may produce agitation, excitement, loss of coordination, blank stare, catalepsy, inability to speak, flushing, sweating, over-sensitivity to sound, and involuntary eye movements.22

At doses between 5mg and 10mg, the person may have some of the above symptoms as well as vomiting, increased saliva, eyes remain open, shivering, fever, and decreased sensitivity to pain and touch.23

At doses above 10mg, the person may have to be admitted to an emergency medical facility. Doctors typically look for the “four Cs” in PCP overdoses: catatonia, convulsions, coma, and combativeness.24

What is a PCP Overdose?

Overdosing or taking too much PCP can be fatal.

Symptoms can be closed eyes, high blood pressure, strange eye and motor movements, increased saliva, flushing, fever, rigid muscles, abnormal body posturing, convulsions, sweating, and hallucinations. The person may have slow breathing and numb extremities, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, drooling, and dizziness.25 The person can go into a coma that lasts many days.

Those who swallow too many PCP tablets usually clear their bodies through vomiting. Patients who have injected PCP with syringes are usually in the most danger when they overdose. If a person overdosing on PCP develops an extremely high fever (105 degrees or more), he or she can develop permanent damage to the liver, kidneys and other vital organs.26

Doctors usually administer benzodiazepines to the most agitated patients, and restrain them in dark quiet rooms until they calm down. Other medical interventions can include administering antipsychotic drugs, usually haloperidol, and forced urination.

What Are the Dangers of Using PCP?

One of the main dangers of PCP addiction (see below).

Use of PCP puts a person at higher risk for accidents and suicide. In one study of 19 PCP deaths in California, three were suicides, one died in a gunshot battle, and eleven drowned. One actually drowned taking a shower.27

Other dangers of long-term and chronic abuse of PCP are memory loss, difficulties with speech and thinking, depression, anxiety, mood disturbances, and weight loss.28 PCP can cause small strokes that cause brain damage. Chronic PCP use is associated with violent and aggressive behavior, paranoia, delusions, and auditory hallucinations.29

PCP is particularly dangerous to teenagers because it can disrupt hormones associated with normal growth, and interfere with the learning process.30

PCP is stored in fat tissue, making it possible to experience “PCP aftershocks” can occur for up to a year after using it. PCP aftershocks are similar to LSD flashbacks in that the person can feel as if he or she is under the influence of the drug without taking it.

PCP is a street drug, which means what you buy is impure and unregulated. The way the drug affects a person varies by individual, and is impossible to predict.31

What is PCP Addiction?

In order to be classified as an addictive substance, a drug must create psychological and physical dependency, tolerance of its effects, and a withdrawal syndrome. The gold standard of addiction studies is to allow laboratory animals to help themselves to a drug, and then to keep track of the amounts they use to see if they develop tolerance, to watch if they go through withdrawal symptoms, and so forth. Laboratory animals, including primates, become addicted to PCP and prefer it over other hallucinogens. They develop tolerance to its effects, and will self-administer PCP in greater amounts the longer they are addicted to it. In one study, monkeys were using PCP four times their original amounts by the end of the study.32

In another study, half the human subjects (mean age: 19 years old) who had experimented with PCP once or more were using it three or more times a week one year later. Three years later 75% of those subjects were still using PCP regularly.33 Studies like this one led the U.S. government to classify PCP as “highly addictive.”

Most PCP addicts begin using it in a social setting, such as a rock concert or night club, but once addicted, they tend to use the drug alone. In research involving 540 users, 33% used PCP more than three times a week and 5% used it two or three times a day.34

The majority of people addicted to PCP use it in conjunction with other illegal drugs.35

What is PCP Withdrawal?

PCP withdrawal syndrome occurs when you stop taking the drug. Symptoms will depend on individual factors such as how long you have been using PCP, what amounts you have been taking, your age and general health, and so forth. Symptoms are aggression, anxiety, lack of emotion, upset stomach, trembling, and cold sweats. Memory loss, difficulties with speech and thinking, depression, and weight loss can last up to a year after you stop using PCP.36

What Treatments Are Available for PCP Withdrawal and Addiction?

In one study of people who were using PCP, 99.5% were also smoking marijuana, 90% were using alcohol, and 75% were taking methamphetamine. The mean number of substances they had ever abused was six, and their average current number of abused substances was 2.3.37 The majority of people abusing PCP are abusing other drugs, and they have what psychiatrists call “comorbidities.” These are underlying psychiatric problems that contribute to their drug abuse. The most common are clinical depression, bipolar disorder, unresolved childhood trauma, posttraumatic stress syndrome, attention deficit disorder, and personality disorders.

As one psychologist who works with teenagers addicted to PCP said, “Discussion of the drug itself is often a way in which the disturbed adolescent can avoid coming to grips with his or her real problems, the ones that are causing the drug abuse.”38

In order to become completely free of drug addictions, you have to radically change your lifestyle. This involves replacing friends who use drugs, getting out of unhealthy relationships that contribute to drug abuse, finding new interests, and sometimes changing your career path. State-of-the-art treatment is to enter a residential treatment facility and remain at least a month, participating in therapies on a 24-hour basis.

Residential treatment usually begins with a medically supervised detoxification. Medical professionals can help you deal with chemical withdrawal from drugs, and often can ease your symptoms with certain medications. After detoxification, you will undergo intense psychological counseling. Your psychiatrist can help you understand why you became addicted to drugs, and how you can change your life to all avoid using them again. You may also participate in family counseling with your loved ones.

A day in residential treatment might include therapies to help you get in touch with your emotions, such as art, drama and music therapies, journaling, and group therapy. You may have classes in the chemistry of drug addiction, and understand why relapses are predictable part of recovery. Specialists in nutrition and physical fitness will help you achieve your top physical shape. You may enjoy recreational activities, such as sightseeing and outdoor sports. You may take courses to learn how to relax without drugs through techniques such as meditation and yoga. When you return home, you enter an aftercare program that might include continued individual and family counseling, and attendance and support meetings in your community.

How Can I Tell If I Am Addicted to PCP?

  • Are you using PCP along with other drugs?
  • Is your drug is interfering with your performance at school or at work?
  • Do your friends and loved ones criticize you for using drugs?
  • Have you tried to quit using drugs on your own but failed?
  • Do you find it hard to go for more than a day or two without using drugs?
  • Do you want to stop using drugs?
  • Do you experience anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms when you stop using drugs?
  • Have you had trouble with legal authorities, or do you worry that you will have such difficulties in the future because of your drug use?
  • Have you ever driven an automobile under the influence of drugs?
  • Does your drug use feel out of control?
  • Do you feel you’re not living life to the fullest because you use drugs?

Sources:

  1. “Phencyclidine Abuse: An Appraisal,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Research Monograph, Page 230, posted at http://archives.drugabuse.gov/pdf/monographs/21.pdf
  2. “Rapper Charged with Murder: Human Flesh Found in Stomach,” The Free Republic, August 2, 2002., see http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/726806/posts
  3. “New Jersey Woman Beheads Son,” The New York Times, August 22, 2012.
  4. “Man Arrested in Grisly Attack in New Jersey,” the New York Times, September 3, 2012.
  5. “PCP Fast Facts,” The U.S. Department of Justice, see http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4440/4440p.pdf
  6. Baker, Al. “35 Accused of Selling PCP,” The New York Times, January 18, 2012.
  7. “PCP Fast Facts,” The U.S. Department of Justice, see http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4440/4440p.pdf
  8. “PCP: Increased Availability and Abuse,” The U.S. Department of Justice, 2004, see http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs8/8180/8180p.pdf
  9. Ibid.
  10. “Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheet: Phencyclidine,” The National Highway Traffic Safety Association, see http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/phencyclidine.htm
  11. “PCP Fast Facts,” The U.S. Department of Justice, see http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4440/4440p.pdf
  12. “Phencyclidine (PCP),” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/pcpphencyclidine
  13. “PCP: Increased Availability and Abuse,” The U.S. Department of Justice, 2004, see http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs8/8180/8180p.pdf
  14. “PCP Fast Facts,” The U.S. Department of Justice, see http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4440/4440p.pdf
  15. Zezima, Katie. “Drug Testing Poses Quandary for Employers,” The New York Times, October 24, 2010.
  16. “Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheet: Phencyclidine,” The National Highway Traffic Safety Association, see http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/phencyclidine.htm
  17. For more information see “Phencyclidine Abuse: An Appraisal,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Research Monograph (327 pages), posted at http://archives.drugabuse.gov/pdf/monographs/21.pdf
  18. Ibid, and see also “Phencyclidine (PCP),” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/pcpphencyclidine
  19. “PCP: Increased Availability and Abuse,” The U.S. Department of Justice, 2004, see http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs8/8180/8180p.pdf
  20. “Phencyclidine (PCP),” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/pcpphencyclidine
  21. “Phencyclidine Abuse: An Appraisal,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Research Monograph, Page 10, posted at http://archives.drugabuse.gov/pdf/monographs/21.pdf
  22. Ibid, page 11.
  23. Ibid, page 230.
  24. “Hallucinogens InfoFacts,” a pamphlet from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, January 2009, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/mind-over-matter/hallucinogens
  25. “Phencyclidine Abuse: An Appraisal,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Research Monograph, posted at http://archives.drugabuse.gov/pdf/monographs/21.pdf
  26. “Phencyclidine Abuse: An Appraisal,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Research Monograph, page 4, posted at http://archives.drugabuse.gov/pdf/monographs/21.pdf
  27. “Hallucinogens InfoFacts,” a pamphlet from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, January 2009, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/mind-over-matter/hallucinogens
  28. “Phencyclidine Abuse: An Appraisal,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Research Monograph, page 97, posted at http://archives.drugabuse.gov/pdf/monographs/21.pdf
  29. “PCP Fast Facts,” The U.S. Department of Justice, see http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4440/4440p.pdf
  30. “Phencyclidine (PCP),” Research Report, The National Institute of Drug Abuse, see http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/pcpphencyclidine
  31. “Phencyclidine Abuse: An Appraisal,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Research Monograph, page 94, posted at http://archives.drugabuse.gov/pdf/monographs/21.pdf
  32. Ibid.
  33. Ibid, page 83.
  34. Ibid, page 9.
  35. “Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheet: Phencyclidine,” The National Highway Traffic Safety Association, see http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/phencyclidine.htm
  36. “Phencyclidine Abuse: An Appraisal,” The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Research Monograph, page 94, posted at http://archives.drugabuse.gov/pdf/monographs/21.pdf
  37. Ibid, page 9.
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Continued here:

PCP (Phencyclidine) Addiction | Drug Addiction Treatment/a>

Author: kathydavis1956