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PCP and PCP Abuse

What is PCP?

A Hallucinogenic chemical, Phencyclidine (also known as PCP), has various effects on the brain and may cause hallucinations. Phencyclidine is a potent and long-lasting anesthetic. It is the most powerful dissociative anesthetic with two hours median duration of action. It has rapid movement and is slightly less potent than the anesthetic thiopental.

History of PCP

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Phencyclidine was first synthesized in the early 1950s by Dr. Aldo Santi's Italian chemist. Santi was trying to develop a powerful dissociative anesthetic but could not find a drug as effective as thiopental. Santi tried many compounds, but none of them worked.


Finally, he discovered a compound that would work, and in 1952 he named it "Cyclazocine." In 1954, Santi made some slight modifications to the molecule known as Phencyclidine.

In 1966, scientists at Hoffmann-La Roche conducted animal studies to test the drug's effectiveness as an anesthetic. They discovered it had highly potent and fast-acting anesthetic properties, so they decided to pursue further studies.

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Signs of PCP Abuse

PCP is a potent dissociative anesthetic. It causes a very rapid onset of anesthesia, and its effects are so powerful that a person will often be completely knocked out before they even realize it. However, Surgeons use PCP in various surgeries and sedate large animals.

PCP can be abused as a recreational drug but is also very dangerous. It is a schedule III controlled substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and is readily available. Phencyclidine has many effects on the brain. It acts on various neurotransmitter receptors, including dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate receptors. PCP can also bind to other sites in the brain, including cholinergic receptors.


It can also act as a partial agonist at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. This is an ion channel located in the cell membrane. However, it opens when there is a high concentration of calcium ions in the cell.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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PCP Abuse

PCP is one of the most fatal and addictive drugs that can be abused. It has a high potential for abuse and is extremely easy to get. It can be snorted, smoked, injected, or taken orally.

PCP is also a powerful hallucinogen. It causes hallucinations and has a powerful and disturbing effect on the brain. PCP is very potent and will often cause hallucinations in a concise amount of time.

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Symptoms of PCP Abuse

The symptoms of PCP abuse vary depending on the person and the amount of PCP they have taken. It can cause the following symptoms:

  • Hallucinations

  • Dizziness

  • Depression

  • Tremors

  • Slowed breathing

  • Sedation

  • Nausea

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Blood pressure

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PCP Abuse Statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (DHHS, 2011), 6.1 million Americans aged 12 and older reported using PCP at some point in their lives (2.4% of the population in this age group).

PCP is very addictive. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) estimates about 500,000 addicts in the United States. However, another estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the number of addicts at over 2 million.

According to the CDC, about 100 deaths yearly from PCP abuse. There was a 400% rise in admissions to emergency rooms for PCP-related issues from 2005 to 2011, with a spike in both genders.

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What is PCP?
History of PCP
Signs of PCP abuse
PCP abuse
Symptoms of PCP abuse
PCP abuse stats
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