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Dangers of PCP (Angel Dust) Abuse 

Phencyclidine, more commonly known as PCP or angel dust, is a dissociative drug. Originally marketed as an anesthetic, it was taken off the market only a few years later, in 1965, due to the strong dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. It gained popularity as a recreational drug during the 1960s and 1970s, however, fell from the headlines by 1990. In recent years, the number of people, ages 25 to 34, who use PCP has increased by approximately 500 percent from 2005 to 2011, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network.

It is classified as a Schedule II drug in the United States, and is a member of the family of dissociative anesthetics. As an addictive substance, it is associated with compulsive use.

PCP is one of the most dangerous street drugs. It is known for causing extreme addiction almost immediately. Its potent nature makes even one use of PCP exceptionally dangerous. The consequences of using PCP include just about everything from sudden death to prison to a slow and painful death marked by this drug. PCP is so risky that it was once named “public enemy number 1.”

Street Names for PCP

PCP is short for Phencyclidine. When referring to PCP, people often use a variety of street names. Below are listed some of the more common street names used.

  • Angel Dust
  • PeaCe Pill
  • Hog
  • Wack
  • Ozone
  • Rocket Fuel
  • Dust

PCP Effects

PCP has a reputation for giving people superhuman speed and strength, however this is simply not true. The drug only creates the delusional state where the person believes that they are, but are not, invincible. PCP causes some people to overflow with energy. These cases may speak rapidly, move constantly, and have muscle twitches. Other people are sedated and put into a trance-like state by PCP. They may seem comatose. Others still may be somewhere in between. Not alert but still moving, the person may shuffle around muttering and not react normally to the world around him or her. People on PCP have been known to walk into the middle of an intersection, seemingly unaware of the cars, people and noise.

Warning Signs of PCP Abuse in a Loved One

PCP is an unpredictable drug and everyone is affected differently. Additionally, each use of PCP can have a different effect on the same person. As it is also an illegal substance, compounding agents change and are also unknown to the user, making predicting the drug’s effects difficult. Compounding agents change and are also unpredictable. Outward signs vary by person and batch and may include some of the following symptoms.

Some behavioral symptoms of abusing PCP are requiring an increasing dosage, more frequent use, unsuccessful attempts to quit and the inability to fulfill major life responsibilities. Granted, these symptoms may not be available for everyone to see.

Someone on PCP will most likely display bizarre behavior. The person might have striking resemblance to zombie – walking around muttering and clearly in some sort of trance. Other people might seem as though their entire body were shocked with energy.

PCP is an unusual drug in its marked difference in effects between people. With all drug use and addictive behaviors, some common signs exist. These include monetary problems, things out of balance, weight changes, and inability to accept there’s a problem.

Factual Dangers: PCP

PCP is one of the more dangerous street drugs. This dissociative drug has led to addiction and death for many people. If you suspect that a loved one is using PCP, or ever has used PCP, now is the time to act. Anyone using this drug is essentially playing with fire. Consider staging an intervention to encourage your friend or family member to get the treatment he or she needs. Use of PCP suggests that your loved one has a significant problem that must be addressed for him or her to have a future.

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Fast Facts: PCP

In this section we will spotlight key facts about the featured substance.The infographic series highlights the devastating effects that come with substance abuse, not only for the user but everyone connected to them.


In 2009, 122,000 Americans age 12 and older had abused PCP at least once in the year prior to being surveyed

Tolerance to PCP is quickly built up, and it takes about 10 days for the body to completely rid itself of the drug.

In 2008, 1.8 percent of high school seniors reported lifetime use of PCP; past-year use was reported by 1.1 percent of seniors; and past-month use was reported by 0.6 percent. Data on PCP use by 8th- and 10th-graders are not available

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PCP / Angel Dust Rehab Treatment

PCP use typically signifies another underlying condition that drives the drug use. Drug rehab is the best way to identify these underlying issues and address them properly, eliminating the need to use substances. Often people use drugs as self-medication, which is a way to alleviate suffering without proper medical care. Integrated rehab centers take into consideration all aspects of a person and know how to identify and treat any co-occurring disorders. A co-occurring disorder is any other mental or physical illness complicating the addiction issues, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Addiction treatment centers specialize in cutting edge therapies. Individual and group therapy should be offered to every client. Individual therapy often involves CBT, which helps people identify and replace negative thought patterns with healthy ones.

Group therapy is a successful model for addiction treatment. Group members give and receive advice, learning from the perspectives and experiences of all group members. Group educational seminars also help everyone by informing people about addiction. Family members may also be allowed to attend workshops, educational groups, and family therapy, which helps the entire family unit recover as one. Through therapy and education, people learn how to overcome their disease and more healthfully cope with stress in the future.

PCP / Angel Dust Detox Treatment

Detoxing off PCP can be dangerous. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, highly unpleasant, and even life-threatening. Anyone needing to detox off PCP should find a detox center to ensure that the process is safe and as comfortable as possible. PCP affects everyone differently, causing the effects of the drug to vary. As the drug’s effects vary, so do the withdrawal symptoms. During detox, people may experience symptoms similar to Cocaine or other stimulant withdrawal. PCP detox is marked by depression, pain, cravings, psychosis, and cognitive difficulties, such as memory loss and confusion.

Medical professionals in a detox center may provide medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and ease the body off the drug. Other healing techniques are also utilized in a medical detox facility. These may include IV therapy, vitamin therapy and other necessary stabilizing treatments. Physicians and medical experts are on staff to address any health concerns that should arise.

The withdrawal process can be a frightening time, especially if it is a person’s first experience with detoxing. In a medically managed detox center, support is provided around the clock, ensuring that no one struggles through this difficult time alone. Medical experts, physicians and staff with personal experience can help you through the process with love, care and the expertise to act if necessary.

Addiction to PCP

PCP has been known to cause immediate addiction due to the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with it. PCP is one of the more addictive and destructive drugs. Addiction is disease of the mind, characterized by compulsions to use, continuing to use despite negative consequences, and drug seeking behaviors. Many people falsely believe that addiction is a failure of willpower or morality, however, for the person affected, continuing to use seems the only way he or she can survive.

People who use PCP often quickly require an increased dose to achieve the desired effect. Its powerful effects cause increasingly frequent use and make stopping difficult. As attempts to cut down prove unsuccessful and the person increasingly fails to successfully fulfill responsibilities, he or she is likely to feel hopeless and turn to drugs even more.

When a person cannot stop using and has developed tolerance, it is likely that he or she is addicted. Addiction to PCP will devastate a person’s health, relationships and life. His or her appearance will probably fall below usual standards. Maintaining responsibilities, such as paying bills or showing up to events will fail. Monetary issues may seemingly consume the person addicted and he or she may have already taken a good deal of money from friends, family and any other sources possible.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms from PCP can be as diverse as the effects of the drug. The higher the quantity and the longer the drug has been used increases the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Common withdrawal symptoms include flashbacks, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, aggressive behavior, hallucinations, lack of impulse control, weight loss and confusion. These symptoms most come from individuals’ reported experiences and little is known about PCP withdrawals from scientific study. Other potential withdrawal symptoms are possible and PCP has a strong association with severe health complications and death.

Additionally, anyone who mixes PCP with other drugs, or who is using or addicted to other substances may have more significant withdrawals. PCP, like all street drugs, are often cut with a plethora of other toxins, drugs and substances. These other substances are often drugs like Methamphetamine and Heroin, both of which come with their own serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms.


Detoxing off PCP is dangerous and best done in a medical setting, such as a detox center. In a medical detox center, professionals and physicians can manage withdrawal symptoms and attend to any emergencies that may arise. Given the unpredictable nature of PCP, you should certainly contact a medical professional for guidance and support through the detox process.

Seeking help for a loved one.

  • Who Do I Include in a PCP Intervention?
    It is best to include an intervention specialist and those closest the PCP addicted individual. It is best to leave out anyone who may not be able to control their anger.
  • What Do I Say in A PCP Intervention?
    You will speak directly to your loved one, only speaking in love and concern while leaving out judgment or anger. Let him or her know the negative impact their PCP addiction causes you.

Intervention for PCP / Angel Dust  Abuse

PCP is one of the most dangerous drugs on the market. Use of this drug even once can cause intense cravings and compulsion to use, both are signs of addiction. Anyone using PCP can quickly deteriorate mentally and physically. Not only is using PCP often fatal, it has significant long-term effects, even if someone stops taking the drug. These include weight loss, depression, difficulty speaking, memory loss and confusion. If you suspect someone you know has a PCP addiction, it is incredibly important to arrange an intervention as soon as possible.

Denial is strongly associated with any addiction, causing the person to honestly not see how destructive his or her using has become. People who are caught in the grip of addiction will often not see how others are affected by their using, regardless of how obvious it may seem to those on the outside. Staging an intervention is the best way to get your loved one headed in the right direction. An intervention is simply a conversation where the person is confronted about his or her drug use and subsequent behavior. A professional interventionist can also help plan, prepare for and conduct the event. The presence of a professional interventionist often brings a calm focus to the conversation.

Addiction is a disease and not a moral failing. Your loved one needs your help to recover, even if he or she cannot see the problem clearly. Staging an intervention could mean the difference between life and death for your loved one, so don’t wait to get started.

Recovery from PCP Abuse

While in the depths of addiction, recovery from drugs and Alcohol can seem impossible. PCP can grab hold of our lives and threaten to never let go. No matter how bad things have gotten and how much you have lost, there is hope. To start recovering from PCP, you probably want to find a medical detox center.

PCP is a potent and dangerously toxic drug that comes with intense withdrawal symptoms. Professional inpatient or outpatient treatment is the best way to follow detox to ensure that you get the help and support you need. The reality is – not everyone can afford to attend a rehab center. If you are one of the many for whom this applies, do not worry. The 12-step programs were the first to successfully address the problem of addiction and remain the hallmark of addiction treatment centers. Most treatment centers are 12-step based and offer professional aid. However, 12-step programs are free and anyone with a desire to stop using is welcome at any meeting.

Millions of people have found a better way to live with the help of the 12-steps and programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Sponsorship and working the 12-steps of recovery are at the core of these programs. Everyone is encouraged to attend meetings regularly and to get involved with others in the program. Surrounding yourself with others who are sober and practice healthy living is crucial to continuous recovery. If you are struggling with substance abuse, find a meeting in your area today and get connected.

  • How Do I Recover from PCP Addiction?
    The first step in recovery from your PCP addiction is admitting you have a problem. Once you have done that, reach out for help and seek detoxification and treatment center.
  • Will I Ever Relapse on PCP?
    PCP relapse is always possible. As long as you learn from it and move on in a positive direction you should be fine and able to have a strong and lasting recovery in the future.
  • Can I Overdose on PCP?
    You can honestly overdose on any drug if it is being abused.
  • How Do I Prevent a PCP Overdose?
    The only way to prevent an PCP overdose is to stop abusing the medication. If you are prescribed PCP and you are taking the dosage exactly how the doctor prescribed it, you should be okay.

Dangers of PCP Overdose

While in the depths of addiction, recovery from drugs and Alcohol can seem impossible. PCP can grab hold of our lives and threaten to never let go. No matter how bad things have gotten and how much you have lost, there is hope. To start recovering from PCP, you probably want to find a medical detox center.

PCP is a potent and dangerously toxic drug that comes with intense withdrawal symptoms. Professional inpatient or outpatient treatment is the best way to follow detox to ensure that you get the help and support you need. The reality is – not everyone can afford to attend a rehab center. If you are one of the many for whom this applies, do not worry. The 12-step programs were the first to successfully address the problem of addiction and remain the hallmark of addiction treatment centers. Most treatment centers are 12-step based and offer professional aid. However, 12-step programs are free and anyone with a desire to stop using is welcome at any meeting.

Millions of people have found a better way to live with the help of the 12-steps and programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Sponsorship and working the 12-steps of recovery are at the core of these programs. Everyone is encouraged to attend meetings regularly and to get involved with others in the program. Surrounding yourself with others who are sober and practice healthy living is crucial to continuous recovery. If you are struggling with substance abuse, find a meeting in your area today and get connected.

PCP / Angel Dust Use, Abuse and Dependency

Almost all illegal drugs started out with legitimate uses at one time and PCP is no exception. PCP was inadvertently discovered by Victor Maddox, a chemist researching synthetic analgesic compounds. The drug was thought to have potential as a painkiller and by the 1950s was released on the market as an experimental drug named Sernyl.

By 1965, the drug was taken off the market due to the severity of side effects as hallucinations, mania and delirium. In the 1960s and 1970s the drug gained popularity for recreational use.

By the late 70s PCP was thought to be the biggest drug problem in the United States by some people. Frequency of use continued to incline, prompting the government to target PCP directly with their anti-drug campaign.

By the 1990s, use of the drug had dropped dramatically in response to the media’s effort to educate the public about the potential health hazards of using the drug.

Recently, a new generation has grown up oblivious to the serious concern surrounding this drug and use of it is back on the rise. Between 2008 and 2010, PCP related emergency room visits increased from 37,266 to 53,542. Such an increase sparks an unhealthy upward trend for the drug.

Additionally, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, in 2013, approximately 33,000 Americans had used PCP within the past month. Some reports suggest that PCP is mostly used by younger crowds, such as high school students.

People under the age of 25 using PCP are especially prone to long-term health consequences. The brain does not fully develop until a person’s mid-20s. Strong, toxic substances such as PCP can permanently halt the development process and leave a person physically and mentally stunted.

For a person in his or her youth, the prospect that such a consequence would affect him or herself seems far-fetched. The reality is that these devastating consequences are very real possibilities.

The most difficult step for many people is admitting that they have a problem with drugs. Those who have come to this conclusion and decided to find addiction treatment have accomplished more than many.

Tragically, some people are pulled back into the life of using by others who have not decided to stop using. Old using buddies, enablers and dealers often prove to negatively influence people recovery in these critical early days.

To avoid such negative influences, and to give yourself the best chance possible, experts recommend travelling for treatment. By finding a treatment center located away from familiar people and places, you give your recovery a better chance of success. As an added benefit, when you travel for inpatient rehab, you can choose to go anywhere. Why not enjoy the scenery and weather while you work on yourself?

Whatever treatment center you decide on, congratulations on making the enormous leap toward a better life. While in treatment you will be exposed to several different therapeutic methods. These include individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy.

Family therapy is a crucial component of addiction rehabilitation. When one person becomes addicted everyone in the family suffers.

Addiction education is a cornerstone of family therapy. All family members learn about the disease of addiction, its neurobiological processes and how they impact behavior.

Previously, it was believed that using was a choice, however we now know that for the person who is addicted, using is more important than life itself. The drugs alter the brain in such a way as to assert itself above survival. Once it is understood that the family member was not morally deficient but in fact suffering from an illness, progress can be made to mend past issues.

Family therapy sessions allow all members to address occurrences from the past and work through them. Everyone is taught coping mechanisms and communication techniques to further improve the functioning of the family unit. With help, everyone can heal and move forward.

Group therapy is a key component of addiction treatment programs. Group therapy intrinsically combats some of the more difficult aspects of addiction, such as isolation.

Many people used in isolation or were distant from others by hiding what or how much they were using. In group therapy, everyone relearns how to be open, honest and support others, which makes this therapeutic method a natural ally of addiction treatment.

There are several different types of groups, such as educational and experiential groups. Educational groups focus on the disease of addiction and all relevant other topics. For example, co-occurring disorders is an issue for many people, as well as relationship issues, spirituality, life skills, and many others.

Experiential groups allow all members to give and receive advice, giving each person the benefit of others experience and helping everyone get to know the others on an intimate level. Through group therapy, members form strong bonds, and gain affiliation support, identification, and gratification.

These groups are conducted with an atmosphere of brotherly love and mutual peer respect, which tends to result in supportive, life-long friendships.

  • What Will I Work on in Individual PCP Therapy?
    You will work on yourself. Individual PCP therapy focuses on bettering your life in ways you never thought were affecting you.
  • What is Individual PCP Therapy?
    Individual therapy is where you would meet one-on-one with a therapist in a confidential setting to talk about your PCP addiction.

Short-term Effects

PCP is a profoundly potent drug. Its effects are astounding and, for some, watching others under the influence can make one wonder what allures people to use this drug. Much of this drug’s popularity can be attributed to the false myth of it lending users super-human strength and invincibility. This drug only creates the delusion of such attributes and more often results in zombie-like behavior.

The effects of PCP can be divided into physical, psychological and emotional. Physical effects include slurred speech, poor coordination, loss of balance, numbness in extremities, nausea, fixed stare or rapid, irregular eye movements, blurred vision, tingling, fever, relaxation and excessive salivation. In higher doses, the effects can also include anesthesia, analgesia, convulsions and death. The psychological effects are vast and include paranoia, rage, delusions, depersonalization, ego death, euphoria, amnesia, confusion, hallucinations, aggression, suicidal tendencies, and severe changes in perception. Although people once believed PCP was the cause of aggressive behavior, there is no research in support of this claim. A person is no more likely to display aggression while on the drug.

Emotional effects are best described as unpredictable. Some people experience feeling of invincibility, excess strength, excitement, whereas in others it causes detachment. The effects are so unpredictable that the same person using more PCP from the same batch can have an altogether different reaction to the drug the second time as he or she did the first.

Long-term Effects

Long-term use, as one may imagine, creates a laundry list of potential hazardous side effects and negative consequences. People who use PCP are at great risk of sustaining severe bodily harm as a result of confusion, delusional mental state and split from reality, combined with agitation, excitement and aggression.

People under the influence of PCP has been known to wander into traffic and block intersections, completely unaware of their surroundings. Poor decision making while one the drug may not only result in serious harm, but death as well. All it takes is one car for the story to end tragically. People using PCP are known for extreme departure from reality, making every action a potential disaster. Tolerance, dependence and addiction are likely as PCP is unpredictable and highly addictive. Addiction rates to this drug may be higher than with others.

Long-term use of the drug can cause every possible negative health problem, including cognitive consequences, such as severe brain damage, brain lesions, symptoms similar to schizophrenia, inability or problems speaking and thinking, as well as permanent psychosis. PCP is such a toxic, dangerous substance that life-altering negative consequences could crop up with the first use or any time after that. Users may find that the drug has permanently altered their ability to think or speak for the worse. If you know anyone using PCP, reach out and get him or help as soon as possible. Their life and future depends on it.

  • Will Group Therapy Help My PCP Addiction?
    Yes. Group therapy will show you that you are not fighting your PCP addiction alone.
  • What Do I Do in PCP Group Therapy?
    In group therapy, you will talk about your PCP addiction and relate with others’ battle with their addiction.

It’s What They Need.

Your loved one feels isolated and alone in their fight against their addiction. Give them the backup that they need. Holding an intervention for a loved one not only brings their problem to the surface, but shows them that people still care about them. They might be in denial with other people, but most people who have a substance abuse problem are not in denial with themselves. Deep down inside, they know they need help. If you show them that they have support if they decide to get that help, they will be more willing to go to rehab. Let them know that you are not giving up on them.

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Seeking help for a loved one

  • Why Should I go to Inpatient Treatment for My PCP Addiction?
    You should go to inpatient treatment to save your life from PCP addiction. You will learn a new, healthier way of life while in inpatient rehabilitation.
  • Why Should I Attend Inpatient Rehab?
    You should attend inpatient rehab for your PCP addiction so you can learn how to live your life in a positive way without the use of drugs.

Inpatient PCP / Angel Dust Rehab

Inpatient treatment centers offer the best treatment for the disease of addiction. Inpatient treatment means 24-hour a day supervision and support from professionals and staff knowledgeable about addiction. Everyone works to ensure that each client has the help he or she needs to overcome the disease of addiction. These intensive and comprehensive residential programs provide different forms of therapy, including individual, group and family therapy.

Individual therapy is typically in the form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. With CBT people learn to identify negative belief structures and thought patterns and replace them with healthier, more positive ones. Trauma therapy is another common focus for individual therapy sessions and the method of treating the trauma varies widely between treatment centers and counselors. Group therapy further helps identify the underlying causes of the addiction and properly addresses these issues. Each member contributes and receives feedback from the group, learning from the experiences of other group members.

Family therapy helps heal the entire family unit and educates everyone about the disease of addiction. When one person becomes addicted, often, the entire family suffers. In family therapy sessions, the family as a unit can address past issues and learn how to avoid problems in the future. The combined effect of all different therapeutic approaches is marvelous. Inpatient treatment centers have the best success rates for good reason. They offer the most effective and intensive treatment possible.

Outpatient PCP / Angel Dust Rehab

Many people follow inpatient treatment with an outpatient program, while others only attend an outpatient program. Outpatient treatment is best for people who have already fully detoxed and stabilized as the person does not provide the same level of support as inpatient.

Outpatient is a less intensive version of some of the same therapeutic approaches used in inpatient treatment, such as individual and group therapy sessions. Some outpatient programs offer a slimmed down version of the full inpatient schedule, while others have gone to great lengths to provide a well-rounded treatment for clients. Make sure to research the programs you are interested in beforehand. These non-residential and part-time programs allow people to continue attending school or work. People continue to live at home and travel several times a week to the treatment facility. These programs are great for some people, however may provide attendees with too much freedom and too little accountability.

Often, program participants are encouraged or required to attend regular 12-step meetings as a part of the outpatient program. Most treatment centers are 12-step based, so meeting attendance is encouraged for people regardless of which program they attend. Everyone is educated about the disease of addiction and encouraged to identify the underlying issues that lead to using. Through therapies and the care and support of professionals, counselors and support staff, people emerge from treatment a new person with a new lease on life.

  • Will Outpatient Help my PCP Addiction?
    Just like inpatient, if you are willing to do what it takes to recover, outpatient rehab will help you learn how to live your life without PCP.
  • When Should I go to Outpatient Rehab?
    Following up your inpatient treatment with outpatient rehab can help provide you with a better chance at PCP recovery.