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A critical review of epidemiologic literature on the abuse of phencyclidine (PCP) suggests that current perceptions by the public and among members of the health professions and drug treatment communities about abuse of the drug are distorted. Epidemiologic data indicate that PCP abuse is not widespread in the United States, nor is its abuse prevalent among adolescents. Its abuse has become concentrated among post-high school age, black males in a limited number of cities, especially Washington, DC. The degree of PCP abuse in a metropolitan area may be related to the availability and cost of other, more highly coveted drugs, such as crack cocaine.