What is PCP used for in the medical field?

PCP was originally used just after World War II for surgical anesthesia. It was shelved in the late 1950s and then reintroduced for use under another name. In 1965, manufacture of PCP was discontinued because of its serious side effects. It has been used very infrequently since that time as an animal sedative, but is no longer manufactured or used in the US or UK at this time.

How do I know if I am smoking PCP?

Because it has a definite chemical taste, even small amounts of PCP are detectable in tobacco or marijuana, two common substances mixed with PCP. It is often liquefied and used in this fashion to disguise its presence in pot or on a cigarette.

If not detected by a user, the effects of PCP may frighten them if they are not aware what they are using is laced. The early signs of PCP use are a sense of detachment from the body and events around them. There may be a rush of high strength-like energy and a sense of power or invulnerability after a few minutes. Slurred speech and lack of coordination may occur, similar to the effects of alcohol. Physical movement may be exaggerated and walking may become difficult or the user may feel that their legs have grown abnormally long. Some users report feeling that their body is made of rubber and their muscles have “melted.” Others report extreme paranoia and hallucinations, along with delusions that are terrifying. Rapid breathing, sweating, increased heart rate and body temperature are all symptoms that may occur. Also common in those using larger doses are extreme terror, high anxiety, violent aggression and/or mania.

What is the risk of having a bad trip on PCP?

The single most dangerous aspect of PCP use is its complete unpredictable reaction for users. This is true with those who use the drug for the first time or over a period of time, even with frequent use. Some have experienced serious and lasting side effects on their very first use of PCP, others who think they can handle the drug find that they have nightmarish experiences after they have experimented with PCP over a long period and feel comfortable with the type of high they can expect. Because it is manufactured in home labs and not made or sold legally, there is no control over the ingredients of the drug.

How can I help someone who has overdosed?

It is seldom recommended with PCP use that a friend try to help anyone who has had too much or is having a bad trip on PCP. Their experience is unpredictable and their reaction to the drug can go a variety of ways. Therefore, the best you can do with them is to ensure their safety and call for emergency help. This means that you may have to involve police or emergency personnel. This is the best course of action due to the fact that PCP users are known to have violent episodes, displaying superhuman strength. The other very real risk with PCP overdose is the belief the user may have that they are unstoppable and cannot suffer damage to their physical body. Therefore, they may do something that is a serious risk for injury and/or death. Another very real risk is that of suicide by the user. These are real risks that occur when PCP is used in high doses or the user is having a bad trip.

How do I “come down” if I have taken too much and begin to have hallucinations or psychotic thoughts?

The drug will wear off after about 4-6 hours in most instances. This can be a long time if the user is having a bad trip. The best way to come down is to seek medical help if experiencing hallucinations, psychotic thoughts or delusions. The dangers of these side effects are discussed in the question above and need to be taken seriously.

Why does anyone use PCP?

The drug itself has known little popularity since the 1980s. It is seldom used or seen at this time, but is still “out there” and available. Some users think it is a relaxing agent and enjoy the sense of being detached from their body. Its sedative effects might be pleasurable for some, but the hallucinogenic properties and dissociative properties make it a dangerous drug. The lack of control over PCP’s methods of manufacture is also a dangerous factor in its extreme unpredictability.

Does stopping PCP cause withdrawals?

Some users become addicted to pcp and will experience withdrawals, just as they would from use and abuse of any sedative narcotic. These can include anxiety, agitation or crankiness, shaking (tremors), heightened blood pressure and trouble sleeping. If large quantities have been taken over a longer period of time, it may be necessary to decrease doses to stave off heart palpitations, vomiting, delirium, and hallucinations. Consult a physician to make sure withdrawal symptoms are safely managed.

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