People Are Bugging Out on PCP in Record Numbers

Illustration for article titled People Are Bugging Out on PCP in Record Numbers

PCP-related emergency room visits went up more than 400 percent between 2005 and 2011, according to recent government statistics. Is angel dust all the rage now?

For a while there, the affects of PCP were feared by most. Even the more adventurous types of drug experimenters stayed far away from angel dust thanks to a rigorous anti-drug campaign in the 1980s that convinced a generation that the drug makes people freak out and burst through windows.


But according to the government's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report last month, ER visits jumped from about 14,000 to 75,000 in a six-year period. And just last year, police in L.A. busted the largest PCP lab in U.S. history, seizing enough doses for 10 million people.

However, experts believe that the spike in PCP-related ER visits might not be accurate. For example, drugs like ketamine and DXM could produce false positives for PCP. And ER doctors sometimes rely on behavioral symptoms to decide that a person is on PCP. But there are so many new hallucinogenic chemicals—like bath salts or synthetic pot—out there now that produce reactions that look an awful lot like PCP.

So the gist of it is that people are definitely wigging out on dissociative drugs, but they might not actually be PCP, per say.


Return of angel dust? ER visits linked to PCP spike since 2005 [NBC News]

Image via Gwoeii/Shutterstock

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*effects; *per se

Also, is it weird that from about 1997-2011 I thought that there was no such thing as PCP, it was just a fake drug made up to give cops free license to kill people that were tweaking? The D.A.R.E. lesson on it was all "AND THEN THEY CAN THROW CARS AT YOU, LIKE THE HULK!", which just didn't seem particularly plausible.