Hamilton's Pharmacopeia (2011) s01e02 Episode Script

A Positive PCP Story

Morris: Its birth
Its life
shrouded in mystery.
Understood by few
feared by many.
He ate him? He literally
cut him up and ate him?
Morris: I've been fascinated
by psychoactive drugs
my whole life.
I love to study their chemistry
and impact on society,
and my work has allowed me
to investigate extraordinary
substances around the world.
Yet there are still
mysteries that remain.
PCP's something like
an alternate reality.
You see something.
It's like knowledge.
You can see something.
And once you see that,
you can't never go back.
This is PCPas you've
never seen it before.
I'm in New Mexico to visit
the home of Timothy Wyllie
Hey. Great to meet you.
-Great to see you.
Yeah. Welcome to the, uh,
to the shack. Yes.
Morris: a spiritualist
and founding member
of The Process Church,
who used PCP
to inspire his artwork
and the mythology in which
the Garden of Eden serpent
is revealed to be
an ancient race
of space gypsy philosophers.
I had taken
some PCP think--
thinking about the Adam
and Eve myth.
I said, "What do we know
about Adam and Eve?
Who the hell
is the serpent, you know?"
And my pen
started working.
And so each of the pages
I did using PCP.
You tune in, and you can
feel the undertow,
what's going on underneath,
this reality,
which is just, like,
a heartbeat away.
When I first came
across PCP,
that would have been
probably in the mid
No, the early '80s,
I would say.
I thought immediately,
this --
this is something
very different.
I mean, I'd had experience
with acid, you know,
with all of that.
All the standard,
um, entheogens.
But this is something
very strange.
This is something different
because with --
with your normal
entheogen, um, it --
in a sense,
you can feel your body,
and you can leave
your body, right?
You're somewhere else.
With this
particular molecule,
the sense I get
is you go up.
You take the --
you take it with you.
Morris: Dissociative anesthetics
are a chemically diverse class
that share an ability
to disconnect the user's body
from their mind.
In 1956, the chemist
Vic Maddox
discovered PCP,
and, one year later,
the drug was being tested
as an anesthetic
in human surgeries.
But dissociative effects limited
its clinical application,
and it soon found a home
with non-medical users
on the street.
When you smoke it, everything
goes into symmetrical patterns.
It's like gears will
Like, gears come
together like this.
You -- you understand
the gear wheels.
Morris: And those people used
the drug to explore
strange realms of the mind that
are otherwise inaccessible.
When did you first decide
that you wanted
to smoke PCP and
interact with dolphins?
What was the motivation
for doing that?
I'd always been interested
in dolphin intelligence.
Using PCP,
especially with,
uh, dolphins,
was just wonderful.
Um, you can just
go straight into,
you know,
communication with them.
How would that manifest?
What would be an --
an example?
One of the questions I --
telepathic questions
I had asked was,
how do you convey information
down through time?
How do you store
And I was out, um,
about waist-deep one time.
There was a dolphin
kind of swimming out
about 10 or 15 feet away.
And I had the impulse
to pick up a sand dollar.
And when I looked
at the sand dollar,
the impression
that came was
that these sand dollars
are information
storage devices.
In other words,
dolphin can project,
uh, 'cause they --
they use sound
to project images.
They project
that image onto that
and it stays within,
'Cause when shells grow,
they grow, um, holographically,
if you know
what I mean.
-I don't know.
It's a really interesting idea.
-Well, the shell will --
will retain this information
as it grows.
So another dolphin
will come along later,
will ping that
with the same, uh, frequency,
and they will receive
the information
stored in the shell.
So this was something --
this was a realization
that you had?
This was.
You were on PCP,
you picked up
a sand dollar,
and you understood
its significance
in recording information
for dolphins.
I was -- I was
in this telepathic bond
with the dolphins
while this was happening.
That's an amazing story.
Morris: Timothy is about
to snort PCP hydrochloride,
and I'm hoping to learn more
about the qualitative effects
of the drug as he dissociates.
Well, I always -- I always like
to say a little blessing.
A blessing to our trip.
Thank you very much,
and thank you, molecule.
May we have a --
a wonderful time together.
Be careful.
Just one more.
Just one more.
I mean, it's up to you,
of course.
But I'm amazed that
you can tolerate this much.
I just would hate --
I would feel bad
if you were to feel, uh
Okay, okay, okay.
We're all responsible
for ourselves.
-Don't you lay that on me.
Can you feel
the effect of it now?
-No. Mnh-mnh.
-Really? No effect?
-Not now.
Let's see where
that gets us.
Let's have a look
at how this particular
um, affects.
I guess this is
performance art.
But I have nothing
to perform.
It's such a personal,
private thing.
You know, when I do
something like that,
you knowor that.
Well, in for a penny,
in for a pound, I guess.
I don't know
what I'm doing.
I can feel it.
-You feel something now?
A lightness of spirit.
-I'm glad you're feeling it.
I was about to say
-No. I'm --
I'm starting
to get a little buzzed.
My -- my limbs are much
more plastic, uh, than normal.
I feel more like this.
The extraordinary thing
about this substance
is how it completely
gets rid of any pain.
Oh, yeah.
There's some similarities
with some other drugs,
but there's no question
that PCP induces
a unique altered state.
Morris: To gain further
insight into PCP,
I visited my friend
Jason Wallach,
an expert on the chemistry
of dissociative anesthetics.
Jason has synthesized
over 100 PCP derivatives
and studied their pharmacology.
scientifically speaking,
is, um, phencyclidine,
uh, which is
a single chemical.
It is completely
synthetic and man-made.
To this date, it's never
been found in nature,
nor have, um,
even derivatives of it.
Victor Maddox, who was actually
doing research into
completely unrelated compounds
he was looking
for opioid analgesics.
And when he was performing
one of the reactions,
he noticed that it
produced a product
that was different
from what he expected.
And when he did, he did
some follow-up experiments,
one of those
of which produced PCP.
Dissociative drugs all bind
to the NMDA receptor.
It's expressed throughout
the entire central
nervous system
and it plays
a number of roles,
particularly in sensory
processing, learning, memory.
So what these drugs
do is block
this normal signaling
pathway in the brain.
Uh, phencyclidine
is the active component.
It's definitely
the psychoactive drug
that's causing
the desirable effects.
-How are you feeling?
-I feel like sitting down.
Let's sit down.
Yes, that last one
popped me over the edge.
I mean,
the fact that I feel,
and I suspect you feel part
of the land right now.
I feel I'm growing
out of the land.
But it's such
a subjective sense.
It's powerful,
but it, you know,
it's not transferable.
I mean, speaking personally,
for me,
these substances are,
umare internal substances.
You know, they're --
they're something
that happens inside.
Morris: What do you think
would happen to society
if dissociatives
never were discovered?
I don't know.
PCP was an accident,
you know?
It wasn't
Well, what is
an accident, you see?
I mean,
an accident is some --
is simply something
that happens
that people don't understand
the causation.
Everything happens
Timothy is a rare example
of an outspoken PCP proponent,
someone who's used the drug
to inspire his artwork
and philosophy.
But stories such as Timothy's
are seldom depicted in the news.
Morris: PCP is more commonly
associated with cannibalism
and superhuman strength
than medicine
and mind expansion,
the unsurprising result
of 50 years
of PCP scare stories
and other negative reporting.
It definitely can kill people.
Morris: So I went to visit
David E. Smith,
a doctor who witnessed PCP use
on the streets
of San Francisco
long before the drug
became a media sensation.
Morris: PCP is this
misunderstood drug,
and it seems as if
it's almost always been
a misunderstood drug.
We were really the first
to identify it
because all the new drugs
came out here
in the Haight-Ashbury.
In the Panhandle,
they had this big concert.
Uh, about 1967,
and they threw out
these capsules,
and people
would take 'em.
But we found,
when the individuals
having a bad trip,
they weren't bad trips
like LSD.
They were rigid.
They were catatonic.
They were violent.
The classic talk-down
is you engage the person,
get the mind off the thing
that's bothering them.
But when you tried
to engage
the person with PCP
[ Screaming ]
the sensory input
that went out
became something else,
and they became
very agitated.
Morris: Dr. Smith walked me
to the Panhandle to show me
where he first encountered
a PCP intoxication.
It was there.
That's where
the concert was.
Right there.
Hippies dancing.
And that tree is where
I saw my first bad PCP trip.
She does a face-plant
in the dirt.
-Right here?
-Right there.
Falling facedown
in the dirt
is not something
you're supposed to do.
And I said this is a different
type of drug reaction.
I got a sample of the urine,
had it tested.
And that's when it
came back as PCP.
I hallucinate.
I see things.
I like it.
I didn't think
a dissociative anesthetic
would be the drug that
this population would want.
But the problem is, you give
a drug a name, the peace pill.
Or if you're a biker,
the hog.
And they respond
to the pill
and the culture
and the name
rather than any understanding
of the pharmacology of it.
Morris: Since the clinical use
of PCP was discontinued,
it's appeared on the street
in many forms.
First, there were
capsules and tablets,
often called peace pills.
Later, there is crystalline
PCP hydrochloride,
referred to as angel dust.
And most recently, liquid
solutions of PCP freebase
that are used
for dipping cigarettes,
often called sherm stick or wet,
which brings me to Kensington
in East Philadelphia
to meet Craig and Kelly.
This is where I get high,
you know, hang out.
-You want to smoke by people?
-No, there's no one over here.
I usually sit over here
by the rocks.
Over here by this,
uh, gate.
The best way
to smoke it is, like,
right after they just dipped.
Like, they just dipped.
-Yeah, it's still wet, though.
-It's still wet, though.
Morris: Can't they just bust
into flames, though, that way?
-If you light it with a lighter.
You have to light it off
another cigarette.
If she just -- like,
if I just took this lighter
and just put that lighter to it,
it's gonna
It would, like, burst
into flames.
Like, it's gonna,
like, poof up.
Tell me about when you
first started smoking it.
I'm curious about it.
-I can't even really tell you
how I first --
first started smoking it.
It just, like --
it just happened.
Like, I smoked
a dipper one day,
and it was
like, "Oh, shit."
Like, "Well, damn."
That shit will take you
to a whole 'nother place.
We was just getting high.
I'm talking
We were smoking, like,
ounces of this shit in a week.
Like, we was
just getting high.
Like, just dip, smoke,
dip, smoke, dip, smoke.
We weren't even smoking
the whole damn thing.
It's half gone,
we throwing it.
Dipping another one.
We was just getting high.
Like, "Oh, my God.
Damn, like, we got to
stop smoking, bro."
Likeand that shit lasted
for all of 2 hours,
and we went and got
some more of that shit.
It was just what we did.
It was a fun thing.
We -- we got money.
We was just gonna
smoke and get high.
-What is the benefit
that you feel
when you smoke
that makes you want to
do it every day?
I don't know.
She dipping off.
It'll do that to you, though.
It'll get you quiet.
She about to get spacey.
She in the matrix
right now.
-Are you gone?
Is it good to be gone?
When do you think
you'll be back?
I don't know.
Wallach: At this high dose,
the person becomes completely
catatonic and anesthetized.
It's only as the drug
begins to be metabolized
and broken down that the levels
allow them to wake up,
and then they're
still high enough
to be in this dissociated state.
-You good?
-Watch my arm.
Kensington is, like,
our black market for drugs.
It's just, you need a drug,
you go to Kensington.
You gonna find
that shit.
-Where does it come from?
-The wet?
-What you mean?
Like, personally?
Like, where?
Like, who bringing this shit in?
I wouldn't be able to tell you.
-Who makes it?
-Who the fuck knows?
It got to be somebody --
It can't be nobody in here
'cause you got
to be a chemist
to make that shit up.
You don't need glassware.
You can do it in buckets.
But what you do
need are chemicals
that are not just bought
at the hardware store.
Morris: The synthesis of PCP
can be a formidable challenge
for clandestine chemists.
Wallach: Piperidene,
magnesium, cyclohexanone.
Morris: All the chemicals
used to manufacture PCP
have been watched
by law enforcement
for decades,
which raises the question --
"Who's making PCP,
and where does it come from?"
All the PCP in the country
can be linked
directly back
to southern California.
They're cooking multiple
hundred gallons
of PCP at a time,
and it gets shipped
by planes,
trains and automobiles
every single day out of L.A.
In Los Angeles,
I met with Frank Lyga,
a narcotics detective
who dedicated 16 years
to hunting down and arresting
PCP manufacturers.
PCP, what I
find so fascinating,
is that it's real
organic synthesis.
You're not working with things
that you bought at CVS.
You're working
with real chemicals.
Well, that's --
that's you as a --
as a chemistry
The average person
that manufactures PCP
is third
and fourth generation
down the line,
and they got a recipe.
It's amazing how they come up
with some of this stuff.
We then went inside
to look at photos
from his biggest bust.
This was and is and probably
will continue to be
the largest
PCP seizure in history.
This guy's lab site was
in a small village
about an hour and a half
northeast of Las Vegas,
up in the mountains.
His full job every day
was to make PCP.
This was packaged
for sale.
This was actually
how we got the guy.
So he was hydrogenating
the pyridine
in the same operation?
-Yeah. Yeah.
That seems
pretty sophisticated.
He bought everything
in bulk
because this was
his full-time job.
We seized 100 --
roughly 130 gallons
of finished PCP
and enough chemicals
to make about
1,500 gallons
of finished PCP.
The gangs control PCP,
and the old gang wars
from the '80s,
the Bloods and the Crips,
the blue and the red,
doesn't apply to this
level of criminal.
You have
a source of piperidine,
I have a source for PMB,
we're friends.
You're a Crip.
I'm a Blood.
It's green now.
We're making money.
A gallon of PCP in L.A.
goes for $12,000 to $17,000.
That same gallon
in New York,
Philadelphia, Maryland,
goes for $35,000
to $65,000.
Do you ever feel bad
for these people,
or think that maybe they --
they're not bad people?
Not at all.
You don't have to be
a bad person
to do
criminal activities.
We follow the rules
and the laws.
Nothing personal.
I catch ya, I catch ya.
If I don't catch ya,
I don't catch ya.
Why do people use it?
I have no idea.
I don't drink,
and I don't smoke.
Never have.
Never did drugs 'cause,
my whole life,
I wanted to be a cop.
I wanted to be a dope cop.
But that's me.
I can't talk
about anybody else.
At some point, someone
had to figure out
this bucket method.
They had to go to the
original articles written
by the chemist who discovered
PCP, Vic Maddox,
and they had to adapt
his synthetic route
for clandestine manufacture.
So I'm curious
about who that was.
There's one family
in South L.A.
that basically started
the PCP epidemic
in the '70s.
And they are like
the godfathers of PCP
in South L.A.
I'm very curious
about this family.
I'm not gonna mention
the names at all.
They're not
the sorts of people
that would want
to talk to us on camera.
Oh, no.
They wouldn't talk to you.
That's why I'm not
gonna give you a name.
Hansel and Gretel.
Frank's tantalizing tales
of clandestine synthesis
made it clear
that I had to hear
about the process firsthand
from a professional cook,
with the hope that I could
obtain their secret recipe.
You have reached
the voice mailbox of
Yeah, we've had a lot
of difficulty finding someone
who would be willing
to synthesize PCP on camera,
which isn't entirely surprising.
-Hey, what's going on?
This is Hamilton.
-Oh, how you doing?
How are you?
But this guy that we met
with the other night,
he seemed like
a perfect person to speak with.
Uh, he's only been out
of prison for about 100 days,
and he seems conflicted
about whether or not
he wants to have anything
to do with us.
This clandestine PCP cook,
who I'll call Flaco,
was caught manufacturing PCP
and spent 28 years in prison.
So who do you think
was the first person
that brought this information
into South Central L.A.,
the first person to give
the recipe to people
so that they could make it
in underground labs?
Would you say
that it's fun,
something that
you enjoy doing,
something that,
you know,
while you're doing it,
it was exciting?
It was
Have young people
come up to you
and asked you
about a recipe
or asked you to teach them
what you know?
Do you keep it secret
because you don't want
other people
competing with you
or you don't want them
getting hurt?
But when the conversation
to phenylmagnesium bromide,
he couldn't help but talk shop,
and I couldn't help but listen.
So 400 grams.
Sorry, say that
It was 400 grams?
Oh, so 4,000 grams.
In order to understand
a street drug,
it's vital to understand
the technique
of a street chemist.
So I took Flaco's recipe
to the lab
with a small modification
that ensured the final product
would be legal.
The idea behind this experiment
is to mimic the so-called
bucket method.
Instead of 32-gallon
Rubbermaid trash cans,
we're going to use Pyrex beakers
under controlled
laboratory conditions.
In under 30 seconds,
I'm going to tell you
exactly how to manufacture
PCP, or, in this case,
the morpholine derivative
Sodium bisulfite is added
to an aqueous
cyclohexanone solution,
precipitating an adduct
that's subject
to nucleophyllic attack
from lone pair electrons
on the morpholine amine,
forming a solution
in which the hemi-aminol
and aminium ion exist
in equilibrium.
The aminium carbon
undergoes nuceophyllic attack
from cyanide.
You can smell the cyanide
in the air right now.
Just the quantity
that we're using
now is enough
to kill several people.
Wallach: Oh, many people.
-Everyone here.
Morris: This is fun.
Producing an alpha-amino nitrile
which is isolated from
the aqueous reaction mixture
and re-dissolved
in ether for a reaction.
In solution,
the alpha-amino nitrile
is in equilibrium
with an aminium ion,
which undergoes
nucleophyllic attack
from phenyl-magnesium bromide,
driving the reaction
toward the formation of PCMO.
This was what would be sold,
and this is what we could dip
a cigarette into, um,
and would be the final product
that could be sold
on the street level.
Morris: Flaco's method works
for clandestine manufacture
of PCP, but it results
in the formation
of cyanogenic impurities
and a product that's more toxic
for the end user.
After our interview,
Flaco resumed manufacturing,
but tragically died
10 months later
after his lab caught on fire.
Morris: Strolling through
a Santa Monica playground,
I ran into a quartet
of PCP enthusiasts
sharing an afternoon smoke
and decided to ask
them a question
that had been on my mind.
Have you ever done anything
crazy or regrettable on PCP?
but not regrettable.
But I seen some people
who do some humil--
like, humiliating things,
take their clothes off,
you know,
stripping down.
As people dip, sometimes
it's too much of a downer.
Sometimes it hits you.
And sometimes
it picks people up,
and they go crazy, you know?
People's loved ones got to
call the police on 'em.
Do you all know
about Big Lurch?
This guy, Big Lurch,
who ate one of his friends?
He ate him? He literally
cut him up and ate him?
Big Lurch is a Texas rapper
who ate his friend
Tynisha's lungs in 2002.
He described his state of mind
in an interview from prison
with Geraldo Rivera.
Do you know that, uh,
you were actually
chewing on her flesh,
when the cops came?
Yeah, we never heard
of no Big Lurch, you know?
Why? What's up?
From PCP, he ate somebody?
Yeah, he was a big PCP
Man, he was a sick puppy from --
form the get-go, then, you know?
The craziest thing
is to get naked
and want to fight
with the police.
That's it.
You know, police shoot somebody,
kill somebody or whatever,
but not no shit like that.
I want to eat.
You know, too much
zombie movies, man.
You see what I mean?
The radio call came out.
A tall woman dressed in a --
in a red dress
walking in traffic.
The radio car arrived,
and he was naked,
covered in blood.
He had her heart
under his arm.
-He had her heart under his arm?
-You know that?
I did not know that.
His hear--
her heart was in his armpit.
At least
that's what I was told.
Wow. I've been pen pals
with him for years.
That case is an anomaly.
It's few and far between.
Very rarely do we see
anything of that nature.
Morris: The brutality
of the Big Lurch case
overshadows the fact
that the vast majority
of PCP users
are non-violent.
But a powerful
dissociative anesthetic
can combine dangerously
with certain personality types.
Craig: You got a motherfucker
that's, like
He thinking about
killing somebody,
or he think about
robbing somebody,
or anything he thinking
about doing,
he smoke a dipper
or two,
you know,
really putting his mind
on that shit,
he gonna go do that shit.
And then you fucking might
not even remember it
'cause, like, you --
you black out.
Like, a lot of the times,
you don't even,
like, be realizing
what you're doing
'cause it'd have you
acting off raw emotion.
Like, when you hear somebody,
they committed suicide,
it wasn't 'cause
PCP made 'em do it.
They was already going through
some shit in their head.
That's how
that shit happens.
It's like, that little voice
that tells you not to do shit?
It goes away.
With regards to reports
of PCP causing violence,
it has not been
found to be true.
Scientific studies
that were done
that looked at this issue
closer found
that there wasn't
a major association
between PCP use
and violence.
But that doesn't mean
it doesn't happen.
And as with any drug,
some people
have violent responses.
You know, the individual
taking it is a huge factor.
And few individuals have
a more fascinating story
than Christ Bearer.
[ Hip hop music plays ]
Christ Bearer is
a rapper affiliated
with the legendary Wu Tang Clan.
But in 2014, he made
a private decision
that thrust him
into the public eye.
My first PCP experience.
And I went through the streets,
and I was like, "Yo.
I see what the fuck
that people see,"
you know what I mean?
PCP's something like
an alternate reality.
You can see something.
It's like knowledge.
You can see something,
and once you see that,
you can't never go back.
It's, like, you could be
exposed to too much truth,
and it can make you nutty,
you know what I'm saying?
-I tried, uh, meth
and a couple other drugs,
but PCP was something
that it was just --
just clarity.
Could you tell me
the story of that night?
Um, to a degree.
To a degree.
So that night, when I --
I had some PCP,
and I was definitely,
um, I was
watching cartoons.
And to me,
for some reason,
life turned
into a cartoon.
So it was kind of like,
"Well, this is"
And I had three, um,
baby mothers, and they all
uh, had restraining orders
on me
so I couldn't see
any of my kids.
But I figured, "Man,
I keep on having these babies
by these girls."
I was thinking they just,
kind of groupies
and then once they have
the baby by me,
I'm trapped,
and they say,
"Hey, I'm gonna need
this amount of money
for you to be
in their life."
It started being, like,
society that was just --
just dragging me down
into a -- a vortex.
I could not stop.
Women say,
"Men think with their
little head too much.
They always think
with their little heads."
So I said,
"You know what?
I got something
for these bitches.
I'm gonna cut off
my little head
and be forced to only think
with my big head."
And that was clear as day to me,
and I acted upon it.
I went to the kitchen
with a kitchen knife,
and I chopped it off.
I didn't think, "I'm gonna
be famous from this."
It was just a personal thing
in my life I felt I needed,
and it should make
a difference.
And it was kind of like,
"I'm dying anyway, man."
Let me say my last
sets of missing words,
what's going on.
And I said a couple things
to everybody in the room.
And I was like,
"Yeah, fuck it."
I jumped off the balcony
and shit, you know what I mean?
Two-story balcony.
So I hit the ground.
I kind of con--
I was unconscious for a second,
but then I realized,
"Yo, I'm not dead."
I was, like, "Yo,
fuck this shit.
Yo, guess what?
I'm gonna fucking
Yo, nobody's got shit on me.
Watch this shit.
I'm finna to turn
the world upside down,
and people are gonna
really fucking understand
who God is
'cause I promise you,
he is I, and I is him."
Next thing you know,
I'm in the morning.
It was all over
my bedroom, like, "Yo.
What the fuck's going on?"
You know?
So people can say,
"Oh, that nigga did that.
He chopped off his shit.
What a idiot."
It -- it actually
was a genius plan,
I feel, you know?
I really loved my
9 1/2 inches that I had.
At the same token, uh,
manhood is not determined
by what's
between your legs,
and that's my mission
to show.
Sentient thinking being's
what makes you a man.
We don't live
in a society.
We live in a sex-ciety.
You feel me?
I do.
No, I understand
completely what you're saying.
It makes a lot of sense.
I think it's, like,
the sort of thing
where people hear the story,
and it's just hard for them
to mentally grasp.
Would you feel comfortable
showing us any of the --
the -- the wound
or anything like that?
Is that something
you want to show,
or is that
a more private thing?
Um, yeah.
Of course.
I'd be
Shit, why not?
Fuck no.
Stop playing, man.
-Fucking show you this for?
A bunch of dudes
in here.
Why'd I do such a thing?
Why'd I do such a thing,
But, yo, if you guys
can guarantee me
a million dollar kickoff,
I'll -- I'll show you
a wound right now.
I.O.U.? Okay.
If I could --
if I could be true
to that,
I would show you
the fucking wound.
Every problem,
there's a solution.
Of every positive,
there's a negative, you know?
So I definitely
always know that,
even if something negative,
there's a 2% positivity.
If you just focus on that
2% positivity,
you gonna grow it,
you know?
Yeah. Absolutely.
Morris: PCP is a drug popularly
associated with violence,
but the medical
literature establishes
no clear causal link
to such behavior.
Unpredictable behavior,
however, is the norm.
Craig: Everybody's mind
is different.
Seen this man that's rumbling
a broom, fucking with this shit.
He told me to my face,
"He's --
it's a man over there,
and he's rumbling the broom.
He rumbled the motherfucker."
And he looked like
he was losing, if you ask me.
-He rumbled a broom?
-He -- they was fighting.
Him and the broom.
He was fighting some
In his mind,
he was fighting somebody.
He was fighting the broom
in all actuality.
What was he doing
with the broom?
He was fighting
on the floor.
He was literally on the floor,
throwing punches.
You see his face, he look
like he was taking punches.
Like, in his mind,
he was fighting somebody.
Like, he -- he really
was fighting the broom.
Like, smoke that shit,
and depending on
what your mind is like.
You got some sick shit
in your mind?
Yeah, it -- it could be
a bad experience for you.
[ Cellphone rings ]
-Yeah, dawg. Hey, man.
Um, I'm, uh,
I'm over here with,
uh, this crew from Vice,
and they're interviewing me
about PCP, and I'm
[ Both laughing ]
Morris: Steve-O is best known
for his role on "Jackass",
who is also an avid user
of dissociative anesthetics.
After his mother's death,
he made a film called
"PCP Saved My Life"
that chronicled
the relationship
between PCP and his
grieving process.
PCP saved my life.
Morris: So, I saw your movie,
"PCP Saved my Life."
-Oh, right. Right.
-I really liked it.
Cool, man.
I mean, it was what it was.
It was a nice little
social experiment, I guess.
But it's an unusual
take on PCP.
Almost everything that you hear
about the drug is negative.
I don't know if I would
class that experience
as entirely positive,
but it had
its positivity, I guess.
It seemed positive.
'Cause here's the deal,
I smoked PCP for 5
fucking days in a row.
The reason for this video
is so that no one watch--
no one watches it
and then smokes PCP.
I did my service to the world
by smoking PCP.
I was asked, "When was
the last time you cried?"
Which was,
"When my mom's brain blew up
from an aneurysm
on October 10, 1998."
People would just bring it
to me wherever I was at.
I smoked so much of it,
and, uh,
what I remember
was profound hallucinations
of my mother
who had passed away
3 1/2 years before that.
Just, I had a lot
of intense grief
over losing my mom.
Tonight's show is
for my fucking mother.
And I want you to scream
louder than that for her.
You repeat after me --
"PCP saved my life."
PCP saved my life.
Steve-O: Fuck yeah, it did.
But later,
and after I had vowed
to never do it again,
I really got into
a darker place with it.
Man, dude.
We're all gonna die.
I think I'm gonna die,
like, soon.
There was one experience
where I was sitting there,
and I had all my drugs
on that table.
It was
a big, swiveling chair,
and I remember looking
at all these drugs,
thinking to myself,
"I'm killing myself.
I mean, just, like,
there's no longevity in this."
And then I thought,
"I don't care if I die."
And I leaned down
to do more drugs,
and right then,
the chair I was in just spun.
Like -- like as if, like,
a big, powerful, strong,
invisible man was
standing next to it and --
and just spun it.
Like, I was almost
thrown out of it.
And the message that
I gleaned from that was,
"Think again.
It's very important
that -- that you care.
That -- that you not die."
And so you think it was
a sort of PCP entity
that was protecting you
on some level?
Yeah. Yeah.
And to this day
I mean, now I haven't done drugs
in over 7 years.
And I truly believe
that drugs like this,
uh, erode barriers that --
that -- that
between us
and the spirit world.
You don't -- Wow.
That's really good.
It seems like PCP generates
some good stories.
That's something
to be said for it.
Yeah, you know,
I was just thinking, too.
I wonder, uh
Do you feel like you,
Do you have any kind
of a conscience about,
like, making it sort of sound,
like, kind of cool?
Like, maybe people are gonna
see this and think,
"God, I want that
to happen to me."
I don't know 'cause,
even if we tried,
it's hard to make
a pro-PCP story.
That's the quote
of the day.
"It's hard to make
a pro-PCP story."
That's great.
It's tough to make PCP
look good.
Most people who do PCP, yo,
they got some emotional shit
with them, dawg.
Like, re--
I noticed that shit.
There's always something
they trying to escape.
That's why motherfuckers
is the way they is.
That's why we on the drugs
that we on, bro.
Whether it be weed or --
or drinking.
I think everybody needs
some type of escape.
[ Man yelling indistinctly ]
Craig: Bro, you look around.
Like, you see
how we live out here.
I don't watch the news no more.
I already know
what the fuck happened.
The -- the news
is like a re-run.
A man shot
in North Philadelphia.
Another three men slain here.
The shit like that, it --
it start to get to you
after a while.
If smoking and dipping
is gonna take you away
from this shit for 6 hours,
that's what motherfuckers
is gonna do.
It's hard to find a drug
that people regard
more negatively than PCP.
But its reputation
is undeserved.
It's a drug that had
acknowledged medicinal use
in anesthesia and psychiatry,
and a drug that can serve
as the basis
for new therapies in the future.
Dissociative drugs,
they have therapeutic effects.
It's just that separating
those effects
from the side effects
has been the biggest issue.
But what we can do is develop
better derivatives
that have less
side effects,
and -- and those are
in clinical trials now.
And many people
have been funded
to investigate
derivatives of PCP
they are important.
They're important
to a whole range
of therapeutic avenues,
including neuropathic pain,
neurodegenerative diseases,
epilepsy, tinnitus.
I mean, you know,
the list goes on and on.
PCP opened up all
these different doors.
Maddox was obviously
a brilliant chemist,
and I think that's best
exemplified by the fact
that he followed through
with this
serendipitous discovery,
and that was PCP.
Many medicinal chemists
and pharmacologists
have spent
their entire careers
following up
on Maddox's discovery.
I mean, that alone
is significant.
Certainly, I've spent
the last 6 years
or so, you know,
following up on it
and looking into the structure
activity relationship
of these compounds,
many of which he made.
Do you think we, as a country
and as a society,
owe Dr. Maddox an apology?
I think, you know,
maybe the media
should apologize to him.
Maybe they should bring him
a bouquet of flowers.
Somebody certainly should.
certainly should.
Morris: This bouquet of flowers
is for Victor Harold Maddox,
the chemist who discovered PCP.
It contains 25 white roses
to signify
the 25 hydrogen atoms,
17 black roses
for the 17 carbon atoms,
and one blue rose
for the nitrogen atom.
Vic Maddox made
a scientific breakthrough
when he accidentally
discovered PCP,
paving the way for the study
of NMDA receptors
and revolutionizing
the history of anesthesia.
Wyllie: Everything happens
is left to chance.
E.F. Domino once said
that humans,
in their never-ending
quest to explore
and discover, may yet find
a pot of therapeutic gold
at the end of a spectacular
and, at times,
rather dismal PCP rainbow.
On behalf of a world
that has misunderstood
your greatest discovery,
I'm sorry, Dr. Maddox.
I'm sorry.
Previous EpisodeNext Episode