Angel Dust: Use, Side Effects, and Dangers

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The dangers and effects of Angel Dust (PCP)

Angel Dust, scientifically known as Phencyclidine or PCP, is a synthetic chemical created in laboratories. Initially developed as an anesthetic, it has since become notorious for its use as a recreational drug due to its potent hallucinogenic and dissociative properties. It’s primarily found in the United States, where its use peaked in the 1970s, but saw an uptick in emergency department visits related to its usage between 2005 and 2011.

The Effects of Angel Dust in the Body

The effects of PCP vary depending on the dosage. Low to moderate doses can lead to a slight increase in breathing rate, rise in blood pressure and pulse rate, shallow respiration, and profuse sweating. However, high doses of PCP are associated with a drop in blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, drooling, loss of balance and dizziness, and potential violence or suicidal tendencies. High doses can also cause seizures, coma, and, in some instances, death, often due to accidental injuries or suicide during intoxication.

Psychologically, PCP use can lead to an altered state of consciousness, auditory hallucinations, severe mood disorders, amnesia, and a feeling of detachment from oneself and one’s surroundings. It can induce a euphoric state while also causing confusion, agitation, delusions, and muscle rigidity. Long-term use can result in memory loss, speech and learning difficulties, depression, and weight loss.

Risks and Addiction

PCP is addictive, with users often developing a psychological dependence, craving, and compulsive behavior towards the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include drug cravings, increased appetite, headaches, sleepiness, depression, and sweating. There are no specific approved treatments for PCP abuse and addiction, and patients often require hospitalization and behavioral treatments.

In terms of risks, PCP users face the danger of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles. Additionally, interactions with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines can lead to coma or accidental overdose.

Legal Status and Prevalence

PCP is illegal and listed as a Schedule II drug in the United States. As of 2017, about 1% of people in 12th grade in the U.S. reported using PCP in the prior year, while 2.9% of those over the age of 25 reported using it at some point in their lives.

Treatment and Recovery

While there are no specific treatments for PCP addiction, various behavioral treatments and hospitalization might be required to manage the addiction. During the recovery process, users typically experience drug cravings, increased appetite, headaches, sleepiness, depression, and sweating. Addressing PCP addiction involves a comprehensive approach, including mental health support and coping strategies for withdrawal symptoms.


Angel Dust (PCP) is a dangerous and illegal drug that can lead to severe psychological and physiological effects, addiction, and even death. Its use is often associated with significant health risks, and its addictive nature can lead to long-term health issues. Recovery from PCP addiction is challenging and requires dedicated support and treatment.

For those struggling with addiction or knowing someone who is, it’s crucial to seek professional help. Treatment facilities and addiction specialists offer the necessary care and support for recovery.