Angel Dust: Taking The Toll Road To Enlightenment

Bishop Fenwick High School, Peabody, Massachusetts, March, 1975

In high school there was no truth in advertising standard for purchasing recreational drugs. Stale Acid and rat poison were passed of as Purple Microdot Mescaline, Dirt and a variety of herbs were used to add bulk to Marijuana, & Cocaine was cut with milk sugar (a wicked bummer for the lactose intolerant!).Having tried a variety of hallucinogenic & narcotic agents, I was totally down for joining my friends on a Friday & paying $2.00 for hours of mind-altering entertainment.

We were told the pink tablets were THC, a high potency pill containing the stuff that made pot so fun to smoke. In reality, we were getting PCP, a powerful horse… tranquilizer that would have put Mr. Ed out of commission for days. It was popularly known as “Angel Dust” & would soon be more vilified than Heroin…even getting a Gil Scott Heron song to tell you how deadly it was. Well it didn’t kill me but for 14 mind numbing hours I stumbled around , unable to speak coherently & having a tough time remembering what I had been doing minutes ¬†before. I staggered into my American Literature teacher and thought I was doomed, but he was in a hurry and just shrugged it off.

At some point that afternoon I was wandering outside near the gym when some kid threw a huge chunk of ice at me, hitting me just below the knees. I barely felt it, just laughed and flung it back at him. Sometime later it occurred to me this was far from the wisdom seeking higher consciousness pursuit I generally talked about when I talked about LSD, Mescaline, and Marijuana.

This was just getting messed up for the fun of it. My friend Dorothy Cahill had said “Drugs can be spiritual suicide”. I began to think about taking a break and clearing my head. The following week I began talking with Joan Clemenzi about her “natural high” experience with Transcendental Meditation and decided to check it out.


What do you think?

Written by PaulPallazola


  1. I don’t have experience with drugs. I have just taken medical drugs when I was sick. Sometimes, I play around with a hookah, but I only use plant-based molasses.