What is PCP?

PCP is a synthetic drug that was originally manufactured in the 1950s as a veterinary anaesthetic. It became widely used in America in the 1970s as an illegal street drug. PCP is still used in America but is only very rarely found in the UK It comes in liquid, crystal, pill or powder form and can be smoked in a cigarette, snorted, swallowed or injected.

The law

PCP is controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act as a Class A drug. This puts it in the same category as cocaine and crack, ecstasy, heroin and LSD. Maximum penalties for supplying are life imprisonment and a fine. Maximum penalties for possession are 7 years imprisonment and a fine.


PCP is an anaesthetic which has hallucinatory effects. It is regarded as a very powerful drug that can have disturbing effects including distortion of the senses, mood and experience of time, dreamlike states, euphoria or depression, panic attacks, paranoia and aggressive, sometimes violent behaviour. Deaths have been recorded from heart or lung failure.

As with any hallucinogenic drug, people who are already depressed or unstable are more likely to experience negative effects.