Street Names / Slang Terms

angel dust, supergrass, killer weed, embalming fluid, rocket fuel

What is it?

Phencyclidine (PCP) was developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic. Use of PCP in humans was discontinued in 1965, because it was found that patients often became agitated, delusional, and irrational while recovering from its anesthetic effects.

What does it look like?

In its pure form, its a white crystalline powder that readily dissolves in water. However, most PCP on the illicit market contains a number of contaminates as a result of makeshift manufacturing, causing the color to range from tan to brown, and the consistency from powder to a gummy mass.

How is it used?

PCP 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. When it is smoked, PCP is often applied to a leafy material such as mint, parsley, oregano, tobacco or marijuana. Many people who use PCP may do it unknowingly because PCP is often used as an additive and can be found in marijuana, LSD, or methamphetamine.

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. Nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, drooling, loss of balance, and dizziness may accompany this.

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.

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 effects, and interactions with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol and benzodiazepines can lead to coma or death.

Federal Classification
Schedule I

Drug Enforcement Agency
National Institute on Drug Abuse