a central nervous system depressant, introduced as an anesthetic in the early 1950s but later abandoned because of unpredictable side effects such as agitation, disorientation, and hallucination. The drug is easily synthesized by anyone with a basic knowledge of chemistry and has become one of the drugs most frequently used by drug abusers. (See drug abuse.) It has a variety of street names, including “angel dust,” “animal tranquilizer,” “PCP,” “peace pill,” “crystal joints,” and “peace weed,” with the name often reflecting the form in which it is taken. It can be smoked, “snorted” through the nose, ingested, or taken intravenously. There is always danger from the poor and erratic quality of the product illegally sold on the streets. It can produce a schizophrenia-like syndrome, neurologic and cognitive dysfunction, coma, convulsions, and respiratory arrest.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.