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going on in the study of PCP and in the educational process that NIDA is doing.
But I think the reasons for this are two. One is that none of us were aware that PCP was a very bad drug. Coroners in particular around the country were not testing for PCP in our violent bizarre suicides, crimes, or whatnot. We were just not testing for it.
The other thing is the fact that to test for PCP is very expensive. The mass spec machine costs between $75 and $150 to do a drug analysis and this, of course, is extremely expensive for a coroner's office or a hospital emergency ward to do.
Mr. GILMAN. Doctor, if you would yield for a moment, is the medical profession fully aware of the symptoms of PCP! Do you feel there is enough information that has been directed to the medical profession to make them aware of the problems involving PCP to properly diagnose these cases ?
Dr. MINYARD. I think we are gradually getting to become more aware. I know emergency room physicians around the country are much aware of PCP than say the average doctor in his office treating patients. The emergency room physicians seem to be acutely aware of PCP intoxication, because they are the ones who are the first line of defense in a PCP intoxication.
But I don't think anyone is at fault because of those two factors. One, there has not been a high index of suspicion of PCP involvement in bizarre behavior, and, two, if there was, it is very expensive to do the test.
In my own office and with my colleagues at our local Charity Hospital from April 1 to August 1, we tested all of the people that we could afford to test that came into our office and the emergency room at Charity Hospital. There were 375 people whom we tested, and 37 percent of these people were found to be PCP positive.
Now these are people who come into the psychiatric area of the emergency ward, and people who are brought into the coroner's office. There were 37 percent of those people, for a 4-month period, that we discovered had PCP in their blood.
It takes a very minute amount of PCP to cause bizarre behavior and it does look like it is the bizarre behavior that kills in PCP, rather than the usual drug overdose.
Another point was brought up this morning about why can't PCP be elevated to schedule I. It is my understanding that PCP is a very valuable drug in primate experimentation, which of course helps human experimentation. And I do not believe veterinarians use it as much any more for an anesthetic as it is used strictly in the experimentation in primate centers around the country.
Something else was brought up that I would like to comment on and that is the marihuana. I think it is time for us to realize that marihuana is being used as a stepping stone and a vehicle for other drugs. And of course PCP, although it is smoked, as Mr. Bensinger showed us this morning, with parsley, but marihuana seems to be the most common vehicle for the usage of PCP, and I believe in States where marihuana penalties have been lessened, like in California, I would attribute the lessening of the penalties in California for marihuana
possession and the fact that there are the drugs that make up PCP, I would attribute that for the PCP epidemic in the San Jose area.
What needs to be done? I strongly support Senator Bentsen's law about increasing the penalties. In the New Orleans area, and the State of Louisiana, we have literally wiped out heroin, because of the fact that the penalties have been increased and of course the Drug Enforcement Administration and the local police have done a good job. Today on the streets of New Orleans, which used to be a center for the admittance of heroin to the country, heroin is almost nonexistent. A bag of heroin today in New Orleans costs $35 to $40, and it is less than 1 percent pure, whereas 2 years ago heroin was a big problem. Today heroin is almost no problem in the State of Louisiana, in New Orleans.
I do believe the laws should be increased. But I also believe the treatment of drug abusers in general should be increased, and that there should be more centers established around the country to treat young people who are getting involved with these drugs, because it does look like drugs of the future will be the synthetic drugs.
I am sure that we are going to be back again into a drug epidemic like we were in in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The research, as I said before, I believe should not only entail the clinical areas in hospitals, but research should be done in the criminal justice system, and research should be done in the traffic safety area, because I am sure there are many people, especially people who are arrested for drunk driving and who pass the test, who are obviously not intoxicated with alcohol, but intoxicated with something else.
So I would strongly recommend research in that area. And of course there is no antidote for PCP. We heard about treatment, yet there is no antidote. So I would strongly recommend that research be oriented into that area, too.
[Dr. Minyard's prepared statement appears on p. 113.] Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Dr. Minyard. Lieutenant Elkins.
TESTIMONY OF LT. JAMES ELKINS, DIRECTOR OF VICE/NARCOTICS DIVISION, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD., DEPARTMENT OF POLICE
Lieutenant ELKINS. First of all, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify here. I have been with the Montgomery County Police Department for 13 years. Of that time, 6 years has been spent in investigating drug-related crimes.
As an officer involved in the investigation of C.D.S. violations, I have seen the far-reaching effects of the substance PCP, either smoked or ingested in many ways, either by needle or like the other people testified to, smoked on marihuana, or on various other things, mint tea, or parsley, whatever the case might be.
I have been asked to speak on how dangerous PCP is and why the penalty should be raised.
I personally think it should be 20 years on an equal plane with heroin. I think the schedule should be schedule I.
I understand that there is some medical use in the veterinary field, and possibly in the research field, as far as primates are concerned. But from what I can find, through the research I have done, I have not found where it is used medically for humans at the present time. I am not a physician, and I am sure Dr. Luisada covered the very dangerous aspects of PCP. In fact, most of that information was given to you prior to me attending this hearing, and came partially from Dr. Luisada's research into PCP, and several other people who have already testified.
What I will try to explain is what we view the problem as, and that is the problem of manufacturing of PCP in our particular area.
I will try to address the part of the problem I know best, and that is the manufacturing and distribution of it.
The profit in illegal manufacturing of PCP is enormous. Because we are on the record, I will not give the quantities, but merely the chemicals and approximate cost, plus the approximate problem of manufacturing this drug.
In order to manufacture PCP, you need only seven chemicals, you need water, which is relatively inexpensive, 9 dollars' worth of sodium bisulfite, 10 dollars' worth of cyclohexanone, 27 dollars' worth of piperidine, 1112 dollars' worth of potassium cyanide, 17 dollars' worth of benzene, and 59 dollars' worth of phenyl magnesium bromide, for a grand total of $125 investment necessary in order to obtain the necessary chemicals required.
If you place 8 pounds of parsley, mint tea, or marihuana in a container, and then add 2 cups of PCP per pound of substance you will have 8 pounds of PCP-treated substance ready for smoking and distribution, all done within a 24-hour period.
Following is the breakdown of approximate street cost of the treated substance and profit realized from manufacture and sale:
Based on the figure of $2,400 per pound, which is the average sales price in Montgomery County today, the 8 pounds would yield $19,200. Based on the figure of $35 per gram, the 8 pounds would yield $127,680, which means a profit 1,000 times the initial investment of $125.
As you can see, the initial expenditure is small in comparison to the amount of profit to be realized. If marihuana is used as the treated carrier, the cost will be approximately 25 percent higher reflecting the higher cost of the marihuana.
Since PCP is marketed in the schools in our particular area, and is gaining in popularity with younger people, the gram quantity is normally how it will be purchased.
None of the above figures take into consideration the fact that someone along the distribution network may add more of the carrier. The grams
which are then either smoked in a pipe or cigarette are approximately 2 to 3 percent PCP, still potent enough to achieve the desired hallucination or euphoria.
According to statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Washington metropolitan area, region 4, is the third largest manufacturer of PCP in the country. Between January 1, 1971, and December 31, 1976, region 4 has reported 14 labs. Since January 1, 1970, until the present, Montgomery County, Md., alone has identified and seized 10 clandestine labs producing PCP.
Attached is a chart indicating the increase in reportable PCP purchases and seizures in Montgomery County for the period January 1, 1973, through December 31, 1977.
[The information referred to follows:]
PCP PURCHASES AND SEIZURES IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD., JAN. 1, 1973, THROUGH DEC. 31, 1977
As you can see, the increase of reportable PCP cases has risen from 5 cases in 1973 to 89 in 1977, and it is increasing in 1978.
Since the figure of 89 represents 37.3 percent of the total cases worked by Montgomery County Vice/Narcotic Division in 1977, as opposed to 11.8 percent in the previous year, it is easily seen that we are spending much more time investigating these cases, and it appears that in 1978 cases will continue to increase, which they are at the present time increasing.
Considering the fact that the profit is so great in PCP manufacturing, and the chemicals are so easily obtainable, more and more people are engaging in its manufacture, producing a large volume available on the street.
In order to counteract this increase, it is suggested the following action be taken:
(A) Develop legislation to increase phencyclidine (PCP) from schedule II to schedule I.
(B) Also develop legislation that would better control the sale of precursor chemicals, if that is possible.
(C) Increase the priorities of PCP with the Drug Enforcement Administration, if not already done.
(D) Increase the use of Drug Enforcement Administration's task forces to investigate illegal manufacturing and distribution of PCP. One such task force is presently in effect in the Washington area, and is having tremendous success.
Since PCP is readily available, it is becoming the “drug of choice" in the age group of 15 to 25 years. The problem has reached a point in this area where our investigators cannot work a case without being offered PCP for consumption.
With the exception of some pharmaceutical drugs, I believe PCP is surpassed by only marihuana, as an abused drug in the Montgomery County area.
It is up to us to take positive action against this new destructive substance, and this can only be done by a concentrated, combined effort of the legislative and enforcement sections of the Government.
The destructive powers of PCP are well known in the medical community, and now we are seeing firsthand the tragedy of PCP abuse in the young people of our community. It is advisable we move with all
haste to further control its manufacture, and identify and bring to trial persons involved in its manufacture and distribution.
Mr. GILMAN. We thank our three panelists for their testimony today.
Gentlemen, you all have emphasized in one fashion or another the critical nature of the problem. This morning we heard the methods that our Federal agencies were utilizing to confront the problem. I don't know if you were present while some of that testimony was taken or not. It was apparent that there was too little of an effort by way of education, that we had organized a task force in both NIDA and DEA to tackle the problem, and we are beginning to reach out nationwide to coordinate a better concentrated effort.
Do you have any specific recommendations that you would like to see accomplished at the Federal level in order to be of assistance in meeting this problem at the grassroots level ? I address that to the entire panel.
Dr. MINYARD. Well, I feel, of course, a step in the right direction is Senator Bentsen's bill. Certainly in areas of the country where the penalties for heroin have been harsh, heroin does seem to be drying up.
The treatment of drug abuse is extremely important, and I really would emphasize establishing more drug abuse treatment centers to help people who get into PCP.
I think, of course, research into the area of PCP usage in the criminal justice system, in traffic safety, is very important.
Mr. GILMAN. I think that some of the committee members might question your premise that heroin is drying up. From the information and some of the things we find, it is far from drying up, as a matter of fact, it is coming in, in greater quantities in some areas.
But I welcome your thoughts about PCP. I am going to address this to the entire panel also. Why do you feel that the young people are experimenting with PCP, and why is it becoming so extensively used !
Mr. LUISADA. I think any substance which will change the way people feel or make them more tolerant of the situation that they find themselves in at any given moment in time is a substance which can be abused or used to make the circumstances that they happen to be in more tolerable.
I think this is a problem that is characteristic of being a human being. Essentially there will always be a demand in this country for substances that will change the way people feel. I think this is a biologic fact. I think that prohibition showed us that, that you could not legislate demand out of existence.
I think you might notice that perhaps the use of heroin has been reduced somewhat as a result of more stringent controls, but it has been replaced by other drugs. The LSD has essentially dried up, as a consequence of limitations on its manufacture, but we have the replacement with a drug that is 20 times as dangerous, if it can be measured at all, and that is PCP.
I agree with Senator Bentsen that PCP is probably the first of a large group of synthetic mind-altering drugs and mood-altering drugs that we will be seeing. I think that whatever this committee produces in terms of legislation and whatever the Senate produces in terms of