was originally developed in the 1950's by Parke, Davis & Company.
It was tested on animals and humans, and found to be medically useful
as an anesthetic for surgery. Parke Davis marketed it for a short
amount of time as a surgical anesthetic for humans under the trade
name Sernyl, but it caused agitation, delusions, and terrifying
hallucinations in patients after surgery. Because of these side
effects, it was removed from the human market and sold to veterinarians
for surgery on animals under the trade name Sernylan. PCP became
more and more known as a recreational drug, and legitimate veterinary
supplies were increasingly diverted for illicit sale. The commercial
product Sernylan(R) was withdrawn from the market in 1978. PCP is
still made in clandestine laboratories and is sold on the street
by such names as "angel dust," "ozone," "wack,"
and "rocket fuel." "Killer joints" and "crystal
supergrass" are names that refer to PCP combined with marijuana.
The variety of street names for PCP reflects its bizarre and volatile
effects. PCP is a white crystalline powder that is readily soluble
in water or alcohol. It has a distinctive bitter chemical taste.
PCP can be mixed easily with dyes and turns up on the illicit drug
market in a variety of tablets, capsules, and colored powders. It
is normally used in one of three ways: snorted, smoked, or eaten.
For smoking, PCP is often applied to a leafy material such as mint,
parsley, oregano, or marijuana.
What are its short-term effects?
At low to moderate doses, physiological effects include a slight
increase in breathing rate and a more pronounced rise in blood pressure
and pulse rate. Respiration becomes shallow, and flushing and profuse
sweating occurs. Generalized numbness of the extremities and muscular
incoordination may also occur. Psychological effects include distinct
changes in body awareness, similar to those associated with alcohol
intoxication. At high doses, there is a drop in blood pressure,
pulse rate, and respiration. This may be accompanied by nausea,
vomiting, blurred vision, flicking up and down of the eyes, drooling,
loss of balance, and dizziness. High doses of PCP can also cause
seizures, coma, and death (though death more often results from
accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication). Psychological
effects at high doses include illusions and hallucinations. PCP
may have effects that mimic certain primary symptoms of schizophrenia,
such as delusions, mental turmoil, and a sensation of distance from
one's environment. Sometimes, speech is sparse and mangled. Other
effects include inability to feel physical pain, anxiety, disorientation,
fear, panic and paranoia, aggressive behavior and violence.
What are its long-term effects?
People who use PCP for long periods of time report memory loss,
speech difficulties, depression, and weight loss. When given psychomotor
tests, PCP users tend to have lost their fine motor skills and short-term
memory. Mood disorders have also been reported. PCP has sedative
effectives, and interactions with other central nervous system depressants
such as alcohol and benzodiazepines can lead to coma or death.
PCP is addicting; that is, its use often leads to psychological
dependence, craving, and compulsive PCP-seeking behavior. It was
first introduced as a street drug in the 1960s and quickly gained
a reputation as a drug that could cause bad reactions and was not
worth the risk. Many people, after using the drug once, will not
knowingly use it again. Yet others use it consistently and regularly.
Some persist in using PCP because of its addicting properties. Others
cite feelings of strength, power, invulnerability and a numbing
effect on the mind as reasons for their continued PCP use.
Many PCP users are brought to emergency rooms because of PCP's
unpleasant psychological effects or because of overdoses. In a hospital
or detention setting, they often become violent or suicidal, and
are very dangerous to themselves and to others. They should be kept
in a calm setting and should not be left alone.
Use of PCP among adolescents may interfere with hormones related
to normal growth and development as well as with the learning process.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse
NIDA Infofax 13554