Volume 23, Issue 3 (July 1978)
Phencyclidine-Related Deaths in Los Angeles County, 1976
The current widespread use of the illicit drug phencyclidine (PCP), more commonly known as “angel dust” by the “street people,” elicits not only a health hazard but also criminality through violence and public disturbance. Files of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Crime Laboratory show that 25.3% of the 17 000 drug possession cases in 1976 involved PCP. Since the drug can be readily prepared clandestinely, it has been substituted for tetrahydrocannabinol and mescaline for illicit distribution. Jain et al  reported that in the analysis of urine specimens from probationers in Los Angeles County there was an increase in the PCP-positive samples from 36 to 145 for the months of January and February from 1975 to 1976. In 1977, there were 435 positives in these two months. The consequence of this street activity was that approximately 50 PCP cases per month were admitted on an emergency basis to the Los Angeles County General Hospital in 1976.