The Most Common Effects of PCP Abuse

PCP: Myths vs Facts

I can remember when I was growing, there was a point in time, maybe it was the 90’s, that I first saw someone on the news who was high on PCP. They had been standing naked on their roof with a gun, yelling at the police down below. As a kid, it seemed sort of funny to me, this wild man, all naked and flopping around on his roof, and the police scrambling around below him trying to figure out the best place to put the little trampoline in case he decided to try to take flight.

As I got older, and my world got a little darker, I started to see the real damage and danger of what PCP could actually do. Not only on the user at the moment but the lasting mental deterioration that it caused the people who used it abusively.

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Sure, seeing people who were high on PCP in the moment could be pretty intimidating because it kind of changed who they were entirely.

What is PCP?

Phencyclidine, PCP, was created in the 1920’s as an intravenous surgical anesthetic. Due to a number of unwanted side effects, it largely fell out of use in the medical field, and somehow trickled out into the streets. It is still used today, rarely, in the veterinary field, but for the most part it has become illegally manufactured by home “chefs.”

PCP is a powerful, dissociative drug that can cause hallucinations. It can be smoked, snorted, injected, ingested, or drank.

Some of the effects of PCP on the User:

The short-term effects of PCP vary depending on the particular dose taken as well as the route of administration used. As an example – when the drug is smoked – the effects will begin in as few as 2 minutes.

Swallowing the drug slows the absorption and results in the onset of effects delayed until about 30 – 60 minutes.

In either case, the effects may last for as few as 4 hours and as many as 48 hours depending on the amount used.

Some of the effects of PCP

Like its chemical cousin, ketamine, PCP is a dissociative sedative-anesthetic drug. It has hallucinogenic properties, however–meaning that it is known to produce visual and auditory distortions as well as perceptual changes.

PCP’s dissociative effects can result in an individual feeling detached from themselves or the world around them. While under the influence of PCP, someone might feel temporarily divorced from reality, or that their body is not their own.”

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Symptoms can include:

  • Numbness
  • Odd, Erratic behaviors
  • Euphoria
  • Hallucinations (visual/auditory)
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Delusions of Grandeur
  • Slurred Speech
  • High Blood Pressure/Heart Rate
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Breathing Problems
  • Misperceptions of abilities (strength, speed, invulnerability)
  • Panic and Anxiety

Excessive use of PCP over a long period of time can often wreak severe mental and physical damage on a user. As is with most drugs that are abused, the side effects during use build-up, and can permanently damage internal organs, mental processes, and emotional well-being.

Some of the long-term effects even stay persistent in users who have since gotten sober, and many people can often battle with these effects for many years. This disorder is common enough to have been given a name, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder or HPPD, and can be disruptive enough for outside help to be needed.

What are the Long Term Effects of PCP?

PCP drug

  • Impaired Memory
  • Chronic Paranoia or Anxiety
  • Speech Problems
  • Extreme Weight Loss
  • Chronic Depression
  • “Flashbacks”
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Prolonged delusional thinking

PCP has become known to be one of the more dangerous drugs because of the way that users act while on it. Like I mentioned earlier, these hallucinations and visions of grandiosity and superhuman strength, lead people to injure themselves and others while high on PCP.

Hence, people who use PCP often overestimate their abilities and strengths or think themselves impervious to harm, which can and has led to accidental injuries, falls, and even death.

These delusional thought processes often distort the user’s sense of reality, so situations that are actually calm and relaxed, can be completely misconstrued in the minds of the user, which often leads to excitation, panic, and aggressiveness. When the user cannot differentiate the truth from the false, situations escalate, and danger ensues.

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Another dangerous aspect of PCP, is that it can often be mixed with other drugs, for example, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and can even be put on cigarettes as a liquid and then dried. This subtly has led to many of the MDMA deaths that we have all heard about in the news reports. Many people are being told they are taking MDMA, when it reality, their product has been cut with PCP to make more money for the dealers and producers,

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