Also Known As: Phencyclidine, Peace Pills, Hog, Angel Dust

Category: Hallucinogen

PCP was developed as an anaesthetic: a drug used in operations and other procedures to temporally stop a patient from feeling pain. Doctors stopped using it because it can cause hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t really there), make you feel really confused, and affect your mood.

PCP can be an oil, liquid, powder, crystal or pill. The colour depends on what form the PCP is in and how pure it is. PCP oil is yellow, pure PCP powder and crystals can range from white to light brown.

PCP can be sniffed, swallowed or injected. PCP can also be smoked if it is sprayed onto something that you can smoke, like tobacco, or because a cigarette has been dipped into liquid PCP (this method is sometimes referred to as “embalming fluid”).

No method makes using PCP safe, but injecting, and sharing the equipment used for injecting, is particularly risky. You might overdose or catch a,virus such as HIV or hepatitis C. There is also the risk that veins may be damaged and that an abscess or blood clot may develop.

PCP is an anaesthetic and painkiller, which means that it can produce dreamlike and ‘floaty’ or numb feelings. You can have hallucinations and see and hear things that aren’t there. The way you experience time may also change; time may speed up or slow down.

It can change your mood and the way you feel in ways you don’t expect. It might make you feel really happy and upbeat but can also cause you to feel very down, panicky and paranoid. You may believe things that aren’t true. Some people become more aggressive and violent.

Taking PCP can lead to a severe psychotic state which is a mental condition that stops you from thinking clearly, telling the difference between reality and your imagination, and acting in a normal way. These states are temporary.

PCP is an anaesthetic and was designed to stop people feeling pain during operations. But it can cause a loss of coordination and control.

Short term: PCP can increase your body temperature and cause convulsions (when your body shakes violently without you meaning it to). It can also lead you to hurt yourself; some users have been known to cut themselves or commit suicide. Injecting PCP can damage your veins and can cause serious problems such as abscesses (swollen areas of tissue that are full of pus) and blood clots. It can cause your breathing to become shallow and slow or even stop your lungs from working. It can cause death if a lot is taken as this may result in hyperthermia (overheating), convulsions and respiratory depression. Using PCP and alcohol together can increase the loss of coordination/control and make your breathing even more shallow and slow.

Long term: use of PCP has been reported to cause memory and cognitive problems, poor appetite and weight loss, depression, and a prolonged paranoid state of mind.

PCP is a Class A drug, which means that it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell. Possession can get you up to seven years in jail. Supplying someone else, including giving it to your friends, can get you life and an unlimited fine.

Remember: Having a criminal record can make it difficult for you to get a job or visa if you want to travel abroad.

What’s the difference between possession & supply (dealing)? What happens if you’re under 16? Learn more about drugs and the law.