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PCP, Embalming Fluid, or Both


Our Miami drug crimes defense lawyer explains how PCP got one of the least appealing drug nicknames, namely embalming fluid, as well as the legal trouble that you can get into for smoking actual embalming fluid.

PCP, Another Rejected Pharmaceutical Drug From the Trippy 50s

Phencyclidine (PCP) was first synthesized in Germany in 1926.  It is a dissociative anesthetic; in other words, its purpose is to make patients who are undergoing surgery unaware of what is happening.  Because patients would frequently experience hallucinations and other adverse side effects, the drug is no longer used for medical purposes.  Despite this, it is a Schedule II controlled substance, according to federal law.  Schedule II is the category of drugs that, in theory, have medical applications, but their medical use is heavily restricted because they are so dangerous.  This category includes widely prescribed, but highly addictive, opioid painkillers such as fentanyl and oxycodone, as well as cocaine, which was once used to control bleeding during eye surgery, even after its dangers were well enough known that you could no longer buy a bottle of cocaine-containing tonic at the neighborhood drugstore and drink it to cure the blahs.

PCP was a popular recreational drug in the 1960s and 1970s but is now far less widespread.  Part of the reason for the decline of PCP is the rise of ketamine, both as a medical drug and a street drug.  Not only is ketamine safer for use during anesthesia, but a K-hole is a much more pleasant experience than a violent PCP trip.  Ketamine may make people act like Minions, but it doesn’t make them bite deputies.

Why Is PCP Called Embalming Fluid?

When your fifth grade teacher was experimenting with drugs, years before he taught you the “drugs are bad” curriculum, PCP was known as angel dust, as it was often sprinkled in powder form onto tobacco or cannabis, which was then rolled into a cigarette.  In fact, PCP can produce its dissociative effects whether you smoke it, snort it, swallow it as a pill, or absorb it through the skin.

As for its nickname “embalming fluid,” one route of administration is to dissolve PCP in liquid and then dip cigarettes into it.  These “embalmed” cigarettes shrivel up and turn dark brown, so they look like the skinny cigarettes that soldiers used to smoke in the trenches during World War I.

Is Actual Embalming Fluid a Drug of Abuse, Too?

Leave it to the public to take what they read out of context, so anecdotal evidence suggest that some cigarettes sold as having been dipped in embalming fluid have not been treated with PCP, but rather with embalming fluid in its conventional meaning, the formaldehyde solution used to make corpses look pretty at open casket funerals and preserve specimens of endangered frogs so that future generations of museumgoers can behold their interesting markings.  If you smoke a cigarette dipped in embalming fluid of the frog-preserving persuasion, not only will the cigarette have a long shelf life, but it may also make you hallucinate.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

A South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for PCP.  Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo in Miami, Florida for a confidential consultation about your case.


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