What is PCP?

Making its appearance following the dying age of disco, a recreational drug known as “angel dust” quickly gained notoriety as the go to party drug. Angel dust, or PCP (phencyclidine) as it more commonly known as, goes by various names on the street, is a dissociative hallucinogen which makes the user have sensations of being disconnected from surrounding environments and even themselves. By interfering with sensory signals to the mind from various parts of the body, and hindering serotonin and dopamine, PCP can produce these types of dramatic altercations and sensations. 

Phencyclidine was originally intended to be used as an anesthetic in 1952, but first synthesized in 1926. However, shortly after it was patented pharmaceuticals decided that the negative side-effects that it produced made PCP a human anesthetic unusable. For some time after, it was then used as an animal anesthetic, but once again was abandoned due to the unpredictable negative side-effects. 

As a party drug, PCP can be purchased as forms of tablets, capsules or powder. Some users choose to ingest or snort PCP, while other will mix it with marijuana to be smoked. This narcotic can cause neurotoxic and hallucinogenic qualities, which can cause major and severe psychological damages over time. During the late 70’s media coverage in the United States ran multiple stories about those high on the drug, demonstrating violent acts, strange behavior, and even self-mutilation. These stories have been discredited over the years, with most of the violence done by users were ones who had a history of violent behavior. 

While it may have been slightly popular in the 1970’s, PCP has never been a prevalent recreational drug. Possible side effects for PCP ingestion include:

• Numbing of limbs and other extremities

• Loss of balance

• Difficulty with walking 

• Difficulty with speaking, usually slurring words

• Hallucinations

• Amnesia

• Paranoia

• Confusion

• Terror

• Suicidal thoughts/ impulses

• Coma

• Fever

• Stroke

• Respiratory failure

• Death 

With PCP’s ability to drastically alter moods and emotional states, its unpredictability can cause outbursts and erratic behaviors. PCP is a Schedule II controlled substance under United States law, but is usually charged as a drug possession under state law. Federal prosecution can be issues if an individual is caught manufacturing, possessing large amounts for distribution, and /or transporting PCP across state lines. A person who has been convicted in federal court as a:

• First offense of possession: 100-999 grams of PCP can face up to a $2 million fine and/ or 5-40 years in prison

• Second offense of possession: 100-999 grams of PCP can face up to a $4 million fine and/or 10 – life in prison

• First offense of possession: more than one kilogram of PCP can face up to a $4 million fine and/ or 10- life in prison

• Second offense of possession: more than one kilogram of PCP can face up to an $8 million fine and/ or 20 – life in prison. 

• If any of these convictions result in the death or serious injury of an individual can result in an additional prison sentence of 20 - life added onto the possession offense. 

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for possession, it is important to know your rights. The possibilities for PCP possession penalties can be quite severe and talking to your Orlando drug crime attorney at Ali & Blankner will only help your case. Schedule a consultation today!