GREENBURGH, N.Y. – The Greenburgh Police Department has reported an increase in users of the drug PCP throughout the town since the beginning of 2012.
Since January, police have responded to 22 instances where they have found offenders under the influence of PCP – more than double than 2010 and 2011 combined.
"We are seeing this even more since July," said Greenburgh Police Lt. Brian Ryan, commanding officer of the Special Investigations Unit. "There was an up-tick over the summer. We are getting more calls now. It seems to be a pretty significant amount of calls."
According to Ryan, the police employ a two-pronged approach to deal with locals who are under the influence of PCP. Once restrained, often by the use of a Taser, the offenders are transferred to a nearby hospital for evaluation. Police then issue them a summons to appear in court for being publicly under the influence of a drug other than alcohol, which is a violation.
PCP can cause hallucinations, creating panic and fear, possibly leading to a state that resembles schizophrenia, Greenburgh Police Chief Joseph DeCarlo said.
"Some users report feelings of invulnerability and exaggerated strength," he said. "PCP users may become severely disoriented, violent or suicidal."
While a few PCP users have been found while being arrested for trespassing or for resisting arrest, Ryan noted that police are usually lead to a user after receiving a call from a resident reporting suspicious or irrational behavior. On several occasions, police officers were injured while attempting to restrain someone under the influence, including injuries to the knee and hand.
In comparison with the two previous years, 2010 and 2011 only showed nine calls dealing with someone under the influence of PCP. However, Ryan noted that there might have been more users that were not issued a summons; instead, classified as an "emotionally disturbed person" and transported to a hospital or psychological behavioral facility.
DeCarlo noted that while some customers are knowingly buying PCP-laced marijuana, others are not aware that PCP was added to the marijuana. Ryan said that the packaging looks the same, and only someone experienced with the drug would know the difference.
"There are some individuals that we have dealt with more than once," said Ryan. "We know that these guys like to smoke dust, and, based on our prior experience with them, we know that they use the narcotic."
The Greenburgh Police Department urges residents to report any drug dealings by calling 914-682-5300.