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Its mind-crippling, mind-altering effects make PCP the king cobra of all hallucinogens. I will not elaborate on the many horror stories of the bizarre behavior that has been recently reported by the Nation's press. Suffice it to say that law enforcement authorities have attributed hundreds of murders, suicides, accidental deaths, and bizarre selfinflicted injuries to PCP intoxification. An estimated 7 million of our Nation's youth, ranging from the ages of 12 to 25, are daily using this deadly drug. Last year more than 4,000 PCP users were reported to have entered hospital emergency rooms. More than 100 deaths have resulted from the use of this substance alone or in combination with other drugs. That is only the tip of the iceberg, since this data doesn't reveal the instances of PCP intoxication injuries and deaths that have not been reported.
It is obvious that the illicit manufacture, sale, and use of PCP have reached epidemic proportions. We have another national drug crisis regarding the use of this deadly substance, and the abuse of other dangerous drugs.
In 1977, the Drug Enforcement Administration removed over 312 million PCP dosage units, more than twice the amount that was seized in the year before, 1976. The number of DEA arrests for the illicit manufacture or sale of PCP rose by nearly 59 percent, from 176 arrests in 1974 to 279 in 1977.
Mr. Chairman, what are the root causes of PCP usage? Considering the current dangers inherently associated with this deadly drug, why do we find so many teenagers resorting
to this psychotic-inducing hallucinogen? I am sure that puzzles all of us, particularly those of us who serve on this committee.
PCP intoxification is a one-way ticket to immediate self-destruction, so much so that some authorities predict that a PCP user will eventually be reported to a hospital emergency room as a DOA, dead on arrival.
I hope today's panel is going to help us understand more about this drug, why it is being used too extensively by our youth, and how to raise the public's consciousness regarding the dangers associated with PCP intoxification.
I look forward to the testimony by our panels. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WOLFF. Thank you, Mr. Gilman.
Now we would like to come to our leadoff witness, the gentleman from California, who is going to testify on PCP, which is called angel dust, but perhaps should be better known as hellfire.
TESTIMONY OF HON. NORMAN Y. MINETA, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. MINETA. Mr. Chairman, out of consideration for the members of the Select Committee, and other witnesses waiting to testify, I have shortened my prepared testimony somewhat, but I request that the entire statement which I believe you have before you be included in the official hearing record.
Mr. WOLFF. Without objection, the complete statement will be included in the record at this point.
Mr. MINETA. Mr. Chairman and members of the Select Committee, while I am most pleased to have this opportunity to speak before you today, I certainly wish the news that I bring were less disheartening:
I am here because I represent the 13th Congressional District of California, an area which includes a substantial portion of San Jose. San Jose has been called the PCP capital of our country, a dubious distinction that I would be pleased to forgo.
I have come to tell you about the PCP problem in my district, and what efforts are being made to deal with it. I hope this hearing and my participation in it will help focus attention on this problem, a problem that is almost literally “frying” the brains of our Nation's youth.
Last year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a national poll of young people between 12 and 17, and found some 753,000 of them, or 6 percent of the total testing population, had used PCP. These figures represented a 3-percent increase over 1976.
Among young adults, age 18 to 25, 14 percent of the testing population reported having used PCP, and that represents a 4-percent increase over the previous year.
Last year alone, the number of youths trying PCP nearly doubled.
PCP is a popular street drug in Santa Clara County. It appears under a variety of street names. Seizures of PCP in San Jose during 1977 were up more than 100 times what they were in 1975, and arrests for possession also show a huge increase. In 1976, the San Jose Police Department said PCP use in local schools had risen so sharply in the past 2 years that it was then second in use only to marihuana.
There are at least four layers to the PCP distribution system in the schools, beginning with the factory, illicit chemical laboratories, which synthesize it by the pound. Next are the major dealers, who purchase crystal by the ounce. They sell it by the gram to intermediate dealers, who are the connections to the street dealers. The street dealers usually buy the crystal already rolled into homemade joints. Students in local schools sometimes pool their money, buy a joint for $5 or $10, smoke it before school, during recess, or during the lunch break, and then are high for the rest of the day.
I can only imagine what this is doing to their ability to gain anything from their education or what its effects are on classroom activities and the dropout rate in high schools.
Intermediate dealers buy PCP for $65 to $70 a gram, getting 25 joints to a gram. That is about a 230-percent markup, and it is causing even some heroin dealers to get into the PCP business.
Of course, other criminal activity is associated with PCP use. For example, in December 1976, burglary and narcotics detectives teamed up to smash a suspected dope-for-stolen-property operation in Santa Clara County. Property taken in burglaries was being sold or traded for narcotics, including PCP. According to some officials, the severity of crime has definitely increased with the use of PCP. In burglaries, for example, strange and erratic behavior is exhibited. They go to greater extents when high on PCP. They don't just rip something off, they destroy the home or threaten to kill someone.
Dr. Barbara Arons, chief of the Valley Medical Center's psychiatric unit in San Jose, has warned that PCP may be more dangerous than LSD. A year ago she reported seeing an average of 10 PCP patients a week. One man admitted to Valley Medical Center had smoked a joint laced with PCP and in his hallucinations became Jesus Christ. He went into the bathroom and broke a shower pane. He said he wanted to eat the glass so he could die for our sins like Jesus Christ. He swallowed a jagged piece of glass nearly 4 inches long and a quarter of an inch thick. By the time he went into surgery, the glass had gnawed a bloody path deep into his intestines.
Another San Jose couple has been confined to a mental hospital after extensive use of PCP. They started having delusions, and now they think they are Jesus and Mary. That will be their reality for the rest of their lives.
There are other horror stories. One man murdered his parents, another stabbed a tiny baby to death, another ripped out his eyes with his own hands. Users themselves die not only from massive overdoses, but also from what is called behavioral toxicity. People fall from great heights, burn to death, drive their cars into large stationary objects, or drown in a few inches of water because they couldn't recognize the danger, or couldn't cope with it, or simply because they were too high to do anything about it, even move.
The ease and low cost involved in the creation of PCP makes it an attractive venture for dealers. With a couple years of college chemistry and some fundamental equipment, an amateur "cook” can turn an investment of $500 for starting materials into a profit of nearly $150,000 in street sales. In a California drug raid last December, Federal agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration working with local law enforcement officials seized upwards of 900 pounds of the drug worth over $50 million from a single illicit operation. Los Angeles sheriff's deputies closed three illegal labs making PCP in 1975. By 1977, 500 labs had been closed, and these are just the ones that were caught.
Some of you may have read an article in the July 13 issue of Rolling Stone, entitled "Moonwalk Serenade," chronicling a reporter's onsite investigation of PCP use in San Jose. In east San Jose, the mode of stoned locomotion caused by PCP is known as the moonwalk, thus the title of the article. Last fall, officials estimated there were 500 dealers of PCP in San Jose.
Project DARE, standing for Drug Abuse Rehabilitation and Education, opened its doors in San Jose in July 1974 as a unique program offering vocational training and job placement services to former drug abusers. DARE has now expanded to include a program for treatment of abusers of heroin, PCP, and other drugs, as well as providing education
and awareness to the community regarding the issue of drug abuse. The DARE PCP unit is one of the few in existence in the United States.
DARE's PCP unit, which I had the opportunity to visit this pasi weekend, approaches the PCP problem in Santa Clara County from three angles: (1) Treatment for PCP abusers, including individual, group, family, and crisis counseling; (2) community education and awareness through workshops for parents, educators, staff of other agencies, and the interested public; presentations in schools and other private and public agencies; and a public relations campaign to inform and educate the public about the drug problem; and (3) a research project which is taking a comprehensive look at the scope and depth of the PCP problem in San Jose.
While the final results of that study will not be completed for several weeks, I would like to share with you some preliminary results which were presented to me this past weekend.
Project Dare has sampled 1,964 students in the San Jose public school system, representing 2.9 percent of the 67,724 junior and senior high school population grades 7 through 12. I would like to request that the following two pages of graphs be inserted in the record as part of my testimony.
[The information referred to follows:]
Graph of regular drug use by-percent.o.522 Jose
Junior and Senioz,
High school student
compared to last year?" by San Jose Junior and Senior High students:-(69.9%-