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August 8, 1977

Angel Dust

JAMA. 1977;238(6):515-516. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280060059027

PHENCYCLIDINE hydrochloride (Sernylan) was investigated during the 1950s as an anesthetic agent. Although it was found to be effective for analgesia and anesthesia, certain side effects, especially postoperative agitation and delirium that lasts for hours, precluded its final acceptance.

Later, phencyclidine was discovered to be a satisfactory anesthetic agent for certain animals, and is currently marketed for that purpose. A chemically related compound, ketamine hydrochloride (Ketalar) is employed as a human anesthetic. On the street, phencyclidine is known by some 20 names, including "Angel Dust," "PCP," and "Hog."

Angel dust appears in many forms: as a crystalline powder, and as tablets and capsules in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Angel dust is manufactured by kitchen chemists from readily available precursors. The procedure is not complicated and supplies are plentiful. This explains why phencyclidine is a common substitute for less available psychedelic drugs such as mescaline. An occasional batch