The role of alcohol as an intoxicant in DWI cases in Houston is too well-known to be seriously disputed. However, other drugs are becoming more common in DWI arrests in the city. One of the drugs to experience a recent sharp rise in usage is “angel dust,” another name for a drug known as PCP.
What is “angel dust”?
According to an article recently published by researchers at the Houston Forensic Science Center, “angel dust” is now one of the most prevalent drugs found in impaired drivers in Houston. The Center derived its data from a study of impaired driving arrests in Houston for the past six years. The drug’s proper chemical name is phencyclidine, which is usually shortened to PCP. During the period studied (2013 to 2016), 16% of DWI cases in Houston involved drivers who had recently taken PCP.
The drug is commonly packaged as a liquid, in which uses can dip a joint or an ordinary cigarette. The drug can also be absorbed through the skin. Use of the drug has become more common with women and younger people. According to the Forensic Science Center’s research, PCP is hallucinogenic and “profoundly distorts” a person’s perception of reality. The drug provides an “out of body” experience. The danger for drivers posed by PCP was described as “extremely hazardous” because it renders users detached from their surroundings.
Where did PCP come from?
PCP was first introduced as an anesthetic but was taken off the market in the 1960s. In the intervening years, public health officials said that clandestine use of the drug has ebbed and flowed. Now, the drug’s use is centered in a few large metropolitan areas, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Houston.
Solid legal support
Many questions about PCP have yet to be answered. Can the drug be detected with a breath test? How does the drug react with other intoxicants such as alcohol? Anyone stopped by police after using PCP would be well-advised to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the evidence, development of an effective defense strategy, and if appropriate, assistance in negotiating an acceptable plea agreement.