They represent a group of molecules with the basic skeleton of phencyclidine (PCP), a molecule synthesized in the '50s and used as anesthetic drug for a few years, but that has been withdrawn from the market for side effects such as dysphoria, confusion, delirium and psychosis.
Among the PCP analogs are molecules like eticyclidine (PCE), rolicyclidine (PHP, PCPY), tenocyclidine (TCP), and recently, the in the illicit market of drugs are circulating some structural analogues of the PCP, such as 3-methoxyeticyclidine (3-MeO-PCE), 4-methoxyphencyclidine (4-MeO-PCP). 3-MeO-PCE and 4-MeO-PCP are often sold as "reagents for research", in the form of powders. PCP and structural analogues have dissociative properties, alleged hallucinogenic effects and sedatives.
Chemical structures of phencyclidine and some structure analogues.
Intoxication cases registered in Italy
Since 2009, in Italy, the National Early Warning System has recorded two cases of acute polydrug intoxication, including the consumption of PCP.
In Italy, PCP, PCE, PHP and TCP are illegal (Schedule I Section A of the Law on the regulation of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addiction, Presidential Decree 309/90 as amended). These molecules are not easily detectable to the normal screening test but are subsequently detected through blood tests and urine tests conducted in the laboratory. If positive driving a car, motorcycle or scooter, the law enforcement may withdraw the license, impound the vehicle, impose fines, make report to the Prefecture, pick up the passport.