PCP, commonly known as angel dust, is usually classified as a hallucinogen. However, it also has the effects of a stimulant, an anesthetic, or a narcotic pain-killer, depending on how much is taken. PCP has powerful and unpredictable hallucinogenic properties. As a result, individual PCP episodes can vary greatly. Many PCP users are brought to emergency rooms because of its unpleasant psychological effects or because of overdose. Continued PCP use can lead to psychological dependence, as well as tolerance.
PCP was developed in the 1950's 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. PCP is still used as a veterinary tranquilizer and is also illegally manufactured in laboratories. PCP is a white crystalline powder that is readily soluble in water or alcohol. It has a distinctive bitter chemical taste. It can be mixed easily with dyes and turns up on the illicit drug market in a variety of tablets, capsules, colored powders, and liquids. It is sometimes sold to unsuspecting users as LSD, mescaline, or other hallucinogens. PCP is typically taken by the oral ingestion of tablets or capsules containing the powdered form. It is also commonly sniffed or smoked in combination with marijuana or tobacco.
In the 24-hour urine, 4% to 19% of a PCP dose is excreted as unchanged PCP and 25% to 30% as conjugated metabolites. PCP urine concentrations in ambulatory users were most frequently between 40 ng/ml and 3,400 ng/ml.
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