PCP Is ‘No Worse’ Than Other Drugs When Used Properly, Says Hamilton Morris

Members of the Bundeskriminalamt German law enforcement agency (BKA), the Federal Criminal Office, display portions of 2.9 tonnes of recently-confiscated chlorephedrin, one of the main ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine, also called crystal meth.
Hannelore Foerster / Getty Images

Reason’s Nick Gillespie recently interviewed Viceland’s psychonaut, Hamilton Morris, about his interest in drugs and their potential for a future after prohibition. Morris notably touched on PCP, which is often associated with bizarre and violent bad trips — a perception he says is not accurate.

“PCP became shorthand for a bad drug experience,” he said. “If you had something negative happen to you, you say there must’ve been PCP in whatever drug you thought you were taking. It’s a perfect example of a substance that’s been totally mischaracterized.

“When used carefully under controlled circumstances, it’s no worse than anything else. Pretty much every drug has the potential to be extremely dangerous under certain circumstances,” he explained.

On Morris’ show, Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, he devotes the pilot episode to covering both the negative and positive sides of PCP. The episode reportedly came to life after Morris challenged an executive’s idea of framing the show about “crazy drug stories.” After the executive asked Morris to tell him a positive PCP story, Morris did, and the pilot came to life.

HipHopWired reports that PCP has led to some pretty violent situations. Back in 2012, Chevonne Thomas decapitated her 2-year-old son, Zahree Thomas, and put is head in a freezer after smoking weed that was laced with PCP. Another story involves 38-year-old Hilda Santiago, who set herself on fire while smoking and was so high that she didn’t do anything about it. Yet another story involves Angelo Mendoza Sr., who, in 2009, ate his 4-year-old son’s left eye. When police arrived at the scene, Mendoza, who is in a wheelchair, was hacking at his legs.

But Reason reports that Morris visited Timothy Wyllie, an artist who uses PCP for creativity, on his show to show that not all stories connected to the drug are bad. Morris believes that journalism highlights the horrifying stories of drug use for novelty.

“But then the novelty of scare stories wears off and the pendulum swings in the opposite direction,” he said.

Loading...

Speaking to Gillespie, Morris said that he studies drugs because of their influence on culture. He highlights that drug policy dictates political landscape, the prison-industrial complex, and other areas, such as medicine and science. Morris also said that the distinction between drugs, poisons, and medicine isn’t real.

“These categories aren’t chemically or pharmacologically meaningful,” he said.

Outside of his show, Morris works in a laboratory at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. In the lab, he and his team are attempting to create new drugs for testing and research.