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Substance Use: Common drugs


​​​​PCP (angel dust, supergrass, rocket fuel) is one of many illegal substances called hallucinogens.

PCP is often sold as a white powder. The powder can be inhaled (snorted) or mixed with tobacco or cannabis and then smoked. It can also come as a liquid that can be injected with a needle or a capsule or tablet that can be swallowed.

You can become dependent on PCP. Using more makes you want more. A person craving PCP will make bad choices that can harm themselves and others.

When you use PCP, it's impossible to know how strong the PCP is or what its effects will be.

Effects on behaviour

Like all hallucinogens, PCP affects the mind and the senses. You may see, hear, and feel things that aren't really there. Hallucinogens also affect your emotions and ability to think clearly.

PCP may cause you to feel joy or anxiety and panic. Sometimes this panic can lead to violent behaviour. You may believe things that aren't true (delusions), feel like someone is out to get you (paranoia), or feel separated from your environment and yourself. 

Effects on the body

PCP causes many body changes:

  • faster breathing and heart rate
  • blurry vision
  • numbness in the legs and arms
  • changes to blood pressure 
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • less ability to feel pain

Large amounts can cause convulsions, coma, and death. Even a small dose mixed with alcohol or some other drugs can lead to a coma.

Long-term effects

The long-term effects of PCP aren't well understood. We know some people who have used PCP for a long time have:

  • memory loss
  • speech problems
  • long-term anxiety and depression
  • trouble enjoying social situations

PCP can also cause flashbacks. This is when you feel the effects of PCP even though you haven't used it lately. A flashback can happen days, weeks, or months after it was last used.


If you're concerned about your or someone else's PCP use, or you want to learn more about substance use, call the Addiction and Mental Health Helpline, any time of the day or night, at 1-866-332-2322 (Alberta wide).​

Current as of: June 1, 2023

Author: Poison & Drug Information Service, Alberta Health Services