Q: What is PCP?
A: PCP is one of several drugs known as hallucinogens. The name PCP is an abbreviated version of the drug's chemical name (phencyclidine). The most common street names for PCP is: “angel dust.”
Q: What does PCP do to the body?
A: PCP produces many changes in the body including faster breathing and an increased heart rate. It also increases body temperature and can lead to numbness in the legs and arms.
Higher doses can produce a quick drop in blood pressure, vomiting, blurred vision, dizziness and an inability to feel pain. Large doses can cause convulsions, coma and death. There is no “antidote” to PCP, and therefore an overdose is difficult to treat.
On the street, it is impossible to know how strong the PCP is and this makes it hard to judge what its effects will be.
Q: What other effects does PCP have?
A: Like all hallucinogens, PCP has an effect on the mind and the senses. Users can hallucinate, or see and hear things that don't really exist. Hallucinogens also influence emotions and the ability to think clearly. PCP has different effects on different people. It causes some people to feel joy and others can feel nothing but anxiety and panic. In some cases, this panic can lead to violent behavior.
Q: What is a flashback?
A: A flashback is when someone feels the effects of PCP even though they haven’t taken any recently. PCP can cause flashbacks days, weeks or months after people have used it. PCP is retained in the body for several months in your fatty cells. The PCP stored in fat can be released during exercise or fasting, resulting in a true flashback.
Q: What are some of the effects of using PCP regularly for months or years?
A: These so–called “long term effects” of PCP are not really well understood. What we do know, however, is that some people who have used PCP for a long time have speech problems, anxiety, depression and do not enjoy social situations.
PCP is not widely used because of the frequency of “Bad Trips”. It is also a drug that can give you irreversible damage after only using it once.
© Watari Youth Day Treatment Program
Adapted from 2001-2002 AADAC – Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, corp.aadac.com
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