PCP Violence Rises In Washington, D.C.


Washington, D.C., police, prosecutors, and drug testing agencies are bracing for more PCP-related violence, the Washington Post reports. Ten percent of adult defendants now test positive for the drug, the highest rate in five years, says D.C. Pretrial Services. The number of people with PCP in their system arrested on murder and sexual assault charges jumped to 12 last year, up from three in 2007. Police are concerned by the trend. In several categories of crime — assault, murder, robbery and burglary, for example — the raw numbers, though small, have doubled or even tripled in the past year. “It’s a very scary, scary drug for us,” said Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, who noticed the upward trend more than a year ago. “There’s just so much violence surrounding it.”

The rise in PCP use comes as crack cocaine use by criminal defendants fell to its lowest level — 30 percent — since the capital began keeping records in 1995. Crack pushed aside the market for PCP, or phencyclidine, which had been popular in the 1970s and 1980s. On the streets, it was known as “Love Boat” or “Buck Naked” because users often shed their clothes to cool off. Prosecutors elsewhere are seeing an increase. Glenn Ivey, the Prince George’s County, Md., state’s attorney, called current PCP-related violence “surprising.” He said defendants under the influence of PCP are now “routine.”

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