Angel dust is one of the street names for phencyclidine (PCP). The drug may cause one to see or hear non-existent things. It may also cause detachment from the environment.
The drug was developed in the 1950s for anesthetic use. The medical use of PCP was stopped due to the unpleasant effects of the drug. It caused delusions, hallucinations, and dissociation in some patients.
Users reported distorted sight and sound perception. Reportedly, the drug also alters one’s perception of self and the environment.
The drug is white in color. However, its color may vary from light to dark brown depending on purity. PCP dissolves in water and alcohol and has a distinctively bitter taste.
What are the Street Names for Phencyclidine (PCP)?
The drug goes under different names across geographies. Some common street names are:
- Angel Dust
- Rocket Fuel
- Embalming Fluid
Angel dust also has different names when rolled with substances such as marijuana. Some terms for the smoking form are killer joints, fry sticks, supergrass, whacko tobacco, and super weed. However, the drug may often be available as a powder or a liquid.
Effects of PCP
PCP has severe mind-altering effects that include:
- A feeling of detachment that may feel like “floating.”
- Slurred speech
- Rapid walking
- Excited talking
- Loss of coordination
- Feeling superior and fear
- Seeing and hearing things that are not there (hallucinations)
The drug may also cause mood disorders. Users may develop violence due to anxiety, paranoia, and other psychotic episodes. The drug may also affect your body in the following ways:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased breathing rate
- Excessive sweating
- Reduced respiration
- Increased heart rate
PCP can also lead to:
- Memory and cognition issues
- Speech and learning difficulties
- Amnesia – refers to the loss of memory. Users may forget particular bits of information.
- Analgesia-inability to feel pain
- Accidental injury
- Usual eye movement
- Loss of balance
- Dizziness in high doses
High doses could lead to kidney failure, seizures, and irregular heart rhythm. In severe instances and with overdoses from angel dust coma and death may occur.
Dangers of Angel Dust
Angel dust use may come along with the following risks:
- Violence: The unpleasant effects of the drug may cause users to be irritable. The aggression may lead to fights and the destruction of items in the environment. Violent users should be placed in a calm setting. They should also not be left alone.
- Suicidal thoughts: Excess PCP use could lead to violent behavior. Often, users who take large doses may harm themselves or others.
- Coma: A PCP overdose could lead to a coma due to this drug having a strong sedative effect. Commonly a PCP-induced coma results in unresponsiveness but with eyes remaining open.
The Chemistry of PCP
Chemists refer to the drug as 1-(1-phenyl cyclohexyl) piperidine. PCP is both a hallucinogen and a dissociative substance. It may give users hallucinations and detach them from the environment.
The pure form of the drug is white. It may also appear to have crystals. However, street PCP may have different colors due to contamination.
The drug may also be gummy and brown, depending on its handling. Typically, it may have a bitter medicinal taste.
Effects of Angel Dust on the Brain
The drug blocks normal actions by specific chemicals in the brain. Blocking dopamine, for example, causes intense excitement (euphoria). PCP also alters memory, pain, and emotions by blocking glutamate.
The effects of the drug may occur within 5 minutes when one smokes angel dust. The effects may take up to 1 hour for oral users. The duration and intensity of the effects (“high”) may vary depending on the dosage and frequency of PCP use.
PCP interacts with other substances in the brain, such as alcohol. Interactions with alcohol can lead to an accidental overdose and coma. One may experience hallucinations when one takes large PCP doses.
How is PCP used?
The drug is available as tablets, capsules, and powder. It can be snorted, smoked, or taken orally. Users may dissolve angel dust in ether, water, or alcohol. Ether is highly flammable.
The liquid form of the drug may also be injected. Smoking may involve spraying PCP on a leafy material. Some materials used are marijuana, oregano, and mint. PCP effects may last for up to 6 hours.
Is PCP Addictive?
PCP is addictive, and it often causes dependence. Users may develop cravings for the drug. The following effects may occur in the long term:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty with learning and speech
- Weight loss
Treatment for PCP
Stopping ongoing angel dust use may come along with side effects such as:
- Frequent headaches
- Increased appetite
- Sweating, and
- Drug cravings
The treatment for PCP addiction often involves remodeling one’s behavior. Interventions such as cognitive therapy can help people struggling with PCP addiction. This method helps people stop unhealthy behaviors after identifying patterns of behavior.
The best way to stop chronic PCP use is to stop the behavior gradually. First, it is best to identify that one has a problem. Users should then seek support from friends, family, and professionals.
Behavior therapy may be sufficient depending on the seriousness of a given case. Professionals can manage less severe cases using talk therapy. Extreme cases may require staying in a health facility for monitoring.
It may be necessary to eliminate drug usage during and after the treatment. One should observe the following to get the best results:
- Attend therapy sessions as scheduled.
- Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.
- Avoid other drugs such as alcohol. The interactions could lead to adverse effects such as a coma.
- Avoid triggers that make you take PCP. Triggers may include emotions, people, and particular places.
- Replace unwanted behaviors with self-improvement activities. One should consider yoga, participating in volunteer activities, and meditation.
PCP abuse has the potential to significantly reduce the quality of life and brings about real dangers. It is best to seek help before experiencing life-threatening side effects. Fortunately, a proper treatment plan will enable you or your loved one to regain control over life.
If you or a loved one are struggling with angel dust (PCP) abuse, reach out to Inland Detox today. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our addiction treatment programs.