City of Houston

Study: Houston Leads In PCP Use Among DWI Offenders

“From a public health standpoint, this is extremely worrisome because we have a very unpredictable drug which is coming into increasing use.” 

PCP is second only to marijuana as the illegal drug most found in drunk Houston drivers, according to a new study.
Blood Samples from DWI arrests (Houston Forensic Science Center)

PCP is second only to marijuana as the most prevalent illegal drug in the system of drunk drivers in Houston, making it “the largest metro area in the nation to have a significant problem” with the drug, according to a study published Wednesday.

According to a study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 16% of Houstonians arrested for driving while intoxicated between 2013 and 2018 had PCP, also known as angel dust, in their system. One-third of the people arrested during that six-year period had drugs other than PCP in their system, per the report.

Local officials on Wednesday said the problem is increasing, creating dangerous situations for law enforcement.

“When dealing with someone on PCP, they have very cyclic behavior,” said HPD Sergeant Donald Egdorf. “One moment they might be very cooperative, the next moment they want to fight everybody.”

PCP was first introduced as an anesthetic, but was taken off the market in the 1960s. The drug today is illegal and prevalent in a handful of big cities across the country, but officials say Houston ranks at the top of the list of cities dealing with the hallucinogen, and that patterns suggest there is a shift in younger drivers, with more drugs present in drivers under the age of 37 who are pulled over.

“From a public health standpoint, this is extremely worrisome because we have a very unpredictable drug which is coming into increasing use,” said Doctor David Perrse of the Houston Health Department.

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