What is PCP? Learn the Signs of Addiction

PCP could be easily one of the most misunderstood illegal drugs. 

The drug was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but worry about the substance was quickly eclipsed by the crack epidemic of the 1980s. PCP may not be as “popular” as it was in the past, but there are still plenty of people using it. 

Do you suspect that a loved one is using PCP, but don’t know much about the drug or what to look for? If so, you’re in the right place.

If you want to know about PCP and signs of abuse, read on to learn some important facts about the drug.

What is PCP?

PCP is the street name for phencyclidine. Some other common nicknames for the drug include angel dust, embalming fluid, and crazy cocaine.

It’s usually sold as a white powder, but it can come in a range of brown and yellow colors. PCP can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or smoked. Some people choose to combine it with other drugs for a more intense high. 

The drug is a dissociative anesthetic that’s very similar to ketamine. PCP can have trance-like and euphoric effects. Many people that take it experience hallucinations, delusions, and out-of-body experiences. 

The DEA has classified PCP as a schedule II drug, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and could lead to severe physical or psychological dependence.

Treatment for PCP addiction often involves addressing the physical and psychological aspects of using the drug. 

Why is PCP Dangerous?

Aside from the physical effects of taking it, PCP is a very powerful and unpredictable drug. 

If someone taking PCP already has poor judgment, bad reasoning skills, or mental problems like psychosis or paranoia, PCP could make those things far worse. 

The mental effects PCP can have on users are equally dangerous. Some people can develop severe psychosis that’s similar to what people with schizophrenia experience.

You may have seen news stories about people on PCP that seem to have super strength. People on PCP don’t develop superpowers, but their inability to feel pain or make rational decisions can make them act erratically. 

Mixing PCP with other substances can be dangerous. Using PCP while also using alcohol or sedatives could easily lead to brain damage or even a coma. 

It’s also important to note that it isn’t uncommon for some drug dealers to mix PCP with other substances to improve its appearance or potency. These substances could be harmless or could cause more severe problems.

What are the Signs of PCP Abuse?

It can be difficult to tell if someone is on PCP, a different substance, or if they’re having a medical emergency unrelated to drug use.

The signs of PCP use could also imitate other severe problems like psychosis, stroke, or an overdose of a different drug.

If you suspect that a friend or loved one is using PCP, make sure you look out for these potential signs. 

Erratic Behavior 

Your usually calm friend is suddenly very paranoid and can’t stop talking about being watched. When you tell them that they’re acting delusional they become even more agitated and refuse to believe you.

Maybe you’ve noticed that your family member is acting manic and wants to clean at odd hours of the day. They may also be engaging in very dangerous behavior and acting like they’re unafraid of getting hurt.

Sometimes the erratic behavior can be far on the other end of the spectrum. 

You may notice your loved one staring off into space or not responding to people talking to them.  It won’t seem like they’re deep in thought, and their eyes look very glassy and unfocused. 

The effects of PCP could imitate psychosis or could even cause it after long term use. The person you suspect of using PCP could be experiencing hallucinations that are causing them to act out of character.

Intense Mood Swings 

Your loved one is calm one moment, but during the next, they’re hysterically sobbing. They could be prone to bouts of near-psychotic rage or could be experiencing an intense feeling of euphoria. 

Watching a loved one experiencing mood swings from PCP can be a very scary experience. They could be sobbing and inconsolable, they may be screaming and expressing intense anger. 

PCP can have psychological effects along with physical ones. It isn’t uncommon for people that use the drug to experience intense emotional changes for little to no reason.

Loss of Composure 

You ask your friend a question and they can barely form a sentence. Their sentences sound like a word salad or they’re slurring their words. 

You notice that your loved one is having a very difficult time walking. It looks like they can’t find their balance and they’re constantly tripping over their own feet.

If your loved one is acting confused, talking incoherently, or has trouble walking, this could be a sign of PCP abuse. PCP can have intense neurological effects that can make basic things like speaking, standing, or walking difficult. 

What Do I Do If I Suspect PCP Use?

As you can see, PCP use can be very dangerous. The unpredictable nature of the drug coupled with hallucinogenic effects makes PCP dangers for the people that use the drug and the people around them. 

Have you noticed that your loved one has been displaying these behaviors? If so, it’s time to take action.

Don’t hesitate to call the police or emergency services if you’re concerned about your loved one hurting themselves or you while they’re under the influence of the drug.

If you do suspect drug addiction, you should start researching rehab programs in your area to get a headstart for your loved one.

If you have any questions about treating PCP addiction or drug addiction in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can help. Contact us today so we can get you the answers you need.

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