Phencyclidine or PCP, known commonly by its street name angel dust, is a Schedule II drug. This designation indicates a high risk for abuse, dependence, and addiction. More than six million Americans try PCP at least once. Because the risk of experimentation becoming an addiction is high, the best option for breaking the abuse cycle is a PCP addiction treatment program.
To learn more about PCP abuse and addiction, reach out to Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) by calling 844.442.8673 or submitting this online form. Our staff is on standby, ready to help you or someone you love begin recovery from PCP.
What Is PCP?
PCP is a dissociative anesthetic, originally synthesized in 1956 for use as an anesthetic. It was outlawed for use in humans in less than 10 years because of its list of severe side effects but it is still used as a veterinary tranquilizer. By the mid-seventies, it was no longer legal to use on animals. The quick action of legislators to not just regulate but outlaw the use of this drug is a strong indicator of its dangers.
PCP is often used to lace cannabis or tobacco, either intentionally to experience an intense high or surreptitiously by dealers hoping to increase their chances of returning business from now-addicted customers. Joints or cigarettes that include PCP are known by nicknames like a killer joint, crystal supergrass, or fry. PCP products used for vaping are often called embalming fluid
PCP is most commonly encountered and used by teens and young adults and leads to more than 50,000 hospital visits annually.
What Is PCP Abuse?
Because it is illegal across the board, any use of PCP is considered abuse and can easily lead to addiction. Its chemical makeup as a dissociative drug means that PCP causes:
- Irrational thinking
- Time distortion
- Out-of-body experiences
Other effects include:
- Reduced pain sensitivity
- Numbness in arms and legs
- Feelings of invulnerability and superhuman strength
- Hostility and aggression
One of the most disturbing effects of PCP abuse is the dissolution of the self. People feel their identity and self-awareness slipping away, leaving them with a disconcerting, often devastating, feeling of alienation. They feel trapped in a world they don’t recognize and that makes little sense to them. As a result, depression often co-occurs with PCP abuse and addiction.
When someone takes too much PCP, it should be considered a medical emergency in all cases. Signs of overdose are not the same for everyone. Some people become lethargic, veering on comatose, while others become hyperactive and paranoid. Some signs to look out for include:
- Agitation, aggression, and hostility
- Uncontrolled movements, both eye movements and throughout the body
- Increasingly severe hallucinations
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Lowered body temperature
- Erratic or slowed pulse
If you are not sure if someone is overdosing, err on the side of caution. Don’t wait to call for help.
Getting Help for PCP Abuse and Addiction at PAATC
PAATC offers evidence-based therapies provided by clinicians with experience treating PCP addiction. All our treatments, in both outpatient (including an intensive outpatient program) and inpatient rehab, are available in faith-based programs for people who find comfort and strength in their spiritual beliefs.
Some of what PAATC offers to people in recovery:
- Medically supervised detox
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Peer group support (including a 12-step program)
With more than 60 years of experience treating addictions in teens and adults, PAATC has an established track record. Our premier staff is both highly trained and compassionate and has years of experience in addiction rehab. At PAATC, you’ll be in a safe, supportive, trigger-free environment as you receive individualized treatment that meets your specific needs as you begin your recovery from PCP abuse.