This post has been updated to reflect the latest developments in the criminal case against Aaron Hernandez.\r\n\r\nThe powerful street drug PCP, largely unheard of since its violent heyday in the 1970s, may go higher profile as the saga of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez continues to unfold. Hernandez, already charged with murder in the execution-style slaying of former semipro football player Odin Lloyd, now faces two more murder charges in connection with a drive-by shooting outside a Boston nightclub.\r\nAccording to a report in Rolling Stone magazine, about the time Hernandez signed a $40-million contract with the Patriots in August 2012, he began habitually using the notorious drug known as "angel dust" during a period of escalating bad behavior that reportedly ended in the execution-style slaying of his friend Lloyd in 2013.\r\nHernandez has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and weapons charges in Lloyd\u2019s death. His first court appearance on the latest murder charges is set for May 28.\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cAaron\u2019s out of his mind,\u201d an unnamed Hernandez family friend told Rolling Stone. \u201cHe\u2019s been twisted on dust now for more than a year, which is when all of this crazy s\u2014 started.\u201d\r\nAngel dust has taken a back seat to more recent scourges like cocaine and methamphetamine during the last 30 years. But the hallucinogen known for making its users aggressive, paranoid, even psychotic, has recently staged a comeback in pockets of larger American cities, says one of law enforcement\u2019s foremost PCP authorities. 'I Want a Kobe' PCP is a trifecta of stimulant, depressant and hallucinogen that causes a dream-like state, but at higher doses may leave the user with a sense of being invincible, says Los Angeles Police Department narcotics Det. Frank Lyga, who has investigated PCP for more than 16 years.\u00a0 Lyga, a member of California\u2019s only complete clandestine lab team not run by the DEA, testifies in PCP cases throughout the country, in New York, Nevada and Texas, and such cities as Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. While angel dust sounds powdery, PCP is used almost entirely as a liquid, and ordered on the street by code. \u201cIt\u2019s sold using\u00a0basketball names for the amount wanted,\u201d Lyga said.\u00a0 For example, code for 24 ounces of the drug would be a reference to Kobe Bryant, No. 24 for the Lakers. \u201cSo,\u201d Lyga says, \u201cthey\u2019ll call up and say \u2018I want a\u00a0Kobe\u2019 or \u2018I want a Shaq.\u2019\u00a0 Or, \u2018You want a Lamar?\u2019 \u201d\r\n\r\nDeveloped in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic, PCP\u2019s use was discontinued due to the high incidence of patients experiencing postoperative delirium with hallucinations. PCP is no longer produced or used for medical purposes in the United States. However, once it became a recreational drug of choice in the 1970s, angel dust was the stuff of legend among police officers for the almost superhuman strength and aggressiveness of people they encountered under its influence. \u201cThere's a saying on the street, \u2018two puffs I'm good, three puffs I'm whacked,\u2019 which is when people do crazy stuff like pull out their own teeth,\u201d Lyga said. \u00a0Based on increased production and levels of seized product in places where gangs have spread, there's been a rise in PCP use in many regions of America. One of those places is Bristol, Conn., Hernandez\u2019s hometown.\u00a0 \u201cWe have been experiencing a resurgence in the use of angel dust,\u201d Bristol Det. Lt. Kevin Morrell told Rolling Stone. \u201cWe deal with it all the time." The use of PCP, also called \u201cwet,\u201d is reported to have contributed to Hernandez\u2019s alleged manic behavior during the months leading up to his arrest.\u00a0 During that time, he became so paranoid that he installed 14 security cameras in his mansion and began carrying a handgun in his gym bag, according to the magazine. \u201cAngel dust had begun to take him on this real death spiral for the last 13 to 14 months,\u201d Rolling Stone writer Paul Solotaroff told Boston\u2019s CBS News, \u201cwhich is when the really deranged behavior began.\u201d It is not known whether PCP will ultimately be introduced by the defense or the prosecution in Hernandez\u2019s murder trial. Nevertheless, Hernandez\u2019s story has cast light on the growth of one of the most dangerous drugs to hit the streets. Nation's PCP Is Coming From L.A. Los Angeles is the nation\u2019s epicenter of angel dust production, according to Lyga and others in law enforcement. \u201cPCP production and distribution from Los Angeles has been increasing steadily,\u201d DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said. \u201cLos Angeles-based street gangs continue to dominate the manufacture and distribution of PCP, continuing to serve as a major source area for PCP seized in, or destined for, other parts of the country the Midwest and East Coast cities.\u201d Lyga said many police agencies don\u2019t have the experience or the desire to deal with PCP users, who may violently resist arrest, which makes for unflattering cell phone videos \u201cfor the blue-suiters.\u201d Lately, PCP has been mistaken by law enforcement for bath salts. \r\n\r\n\u201c July, for instance, a suspected PCP lab blew up a house outside Atlanta on a Saturday, Lyga said, \u201cand the DEA called on Wednesday to have me write up the search warrant for what chemicals they should be looking for. A lot of police departments don\u2019t have the experience to know what they\u2019re finding.\u201d But the drug is out there and moving interstate, Lyga said, most popularly via the U.S. Postal Service. \u201cMy team of people and a couple of others, including the U.S. postal inspector, are intercepting PCP on a regular basis being shipped across the country,\u201d Lyga said, \u201cso the seizure amount is up from years past.\u201d Just last year, $100 million worth of PCP \u2013 considered the largest PCP bust ever \u2013 was seized in Los Angeles and Culver City by the team on which Lyga and other Southern California police officers serve. Lt. Scott Fairfield of the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force, known as L.A. IMPACT, announced the seizure of 130 gallons of finished PCP, 1,000 gallons of PCP-making chemical to produce millions more of the drug, as well as assault rifles and $389,000 in cash. Suspected gang members were arrested and raids conducted on several locations. (What was first announced in the media as 500 gallons of the chemical was, Lyga said, based on his preliminary estimate, and the actual amount was about 1,000 gallons.) Though production and trafficking are up, and police in some cities report an uptick of problems, PCP\u2019s criminal profile has remained low for some years, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The District of Columbia is the big exception. The Office of National Drug Control policy reports that D.C. leads the nation in PCP arrests, with 12 percent of men detained last year having PCP in their systems, according to a recent Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program. Results from the U.S. government\u2019s \u00a02012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health published in September show that the number of past-year initiates of PCP aged 12 or older was 90,000 in 2012, up from the 2011 estimate of 48,000. In Camden, N.J., PCP is growing in popularity among young men and women, according to the U.S. Department of Justice\u2019s Philadelphia\/Camden drug market analysis, which notes the drug is \u201cless expensive than crack cocaine.\u201d Authorities in Monroe, La., have had a string of arrests over the summer surrounding people using PCP, reports KNOE News. \u201cNot sure why that is, but when there is an influx in PCP in the area, we see an increase in number of calls when people are exhibiting bizarre behavior," said Jimmy Fried with the Monroe Police Department. Authorities in Missouri are also seeing an uptick in the use of PCP, according to Fox4kc.com. Kansas City police believe the drug may be responsible for an attack on an ambulance worker in 2012. The news station reported that \u201cKansas City police are investigating the use of PCP in the city\u2019s urban core, trying to figure out where the drug is coming from.\u201d 'Functioning Addicts' on West Coast Lyga, the PCP specialist who trains law enforcement on how to recognize and handle angel dust, says most users go unnoticed; the drug\u2019s quick evaporation on a cigarette and lack of odor helps PCP users fly under the radar. One drop on the end of a cigarette, two puffs, and the $10- to $20-high typically peaks at four to eight hours, but may leave a user altered for 24 hours. And it is not uncommon to find users "dipping" the cigarette into the PCP, which is the equivalent of up to 60 times one dose, said Lyga, adding,\u00a0 "that\u2019s when more of the bizarre and violent behavior happens."\r\n\r\n"We have people under the influence \u00a0but they're functioning addicts,\u201d Lyga said, meaning they don\u2019t seem to overdose and attract attention or medical aid, hospital visits being one measure of use. \u00a0\u201cThe rest of the country, they are being overwhelmed with PCP, which is becoming the drug of choice for the rest of the United States,\u201d Lyga said.\u00a0 \u201cGang members from South L.A. produce it nationwide and they own a monopoly; it all comes from here, 95 to 99% comes from here." L.A. gangs are either transporting it or have members who have relocated cross-country. \u201cMy gangs here, they ship it UPS, priority mail, people fly into L.A .almost daily to pick it up and carry it out,\u201d Lyga said. \u00a0\u201cThey\u2019ve been known to mail it to legitimate businesses, and they sit out front in the car. When the tractor-trailer driver pulls up, they jump in, sign for it and off they go." The difference between a light-headed, out-of-body high and an overdose of PCP is astonishing. Lyga noted a horrific case on which he recently commented in a segment of A&E's Biography program about an aspiring rapper named Antron Singleton, aka Big Lurch. Dubbed the Cannibal Rapper on Hiphopp03ress.com, he said during the program's prison interview that in April 2002, he was hallucinating on PCP when he says he was driven to rid his girlfriend of the demons inhabiting her. He devoured some of her organs and part of her face. Lyga says in such cases, the prevailing cultural horror story -- right now zombies are big -- will often emerge in the tales of criminals who describe hearing voices directing them to kill some demonic creature. While other drugs, such as meth and cocaine may get more ink in the media, PCP manufacturing is actively raided. \u201cThere's 150 to 200 gallons a year that I seize,\u201d Lyga said. \u201cThere are 76,800 doses in one gallon. That's more than 15 million doses worth of PCP confiscated in the Los Angeles area alone -- not the amount of the drug actually in play. We\u2019re good at what we do, but we get under 1 percent of it, and rarely do we get a lab or a big bunch of the stuff because it\u2019s \u2026 sold fast.\u201d The drug is \u201cnot physically addicting; it's\u00a0psychologically addicting,\u201d Lyga said. \u201cIt's a stimulant, a depressive and a hallucinogen -- all three at one time.\u201d From the medical perspective,\u00a0\u201cPCP is the fifth-largest cause of emergency room visits of all illicit drugs with 75,000 visits a year in the U.S.," said Dr. David Sack, CEO of Promises Behavioral Health, who treats addicts of all kinds. "PCP has a high incidence of psychiatric complications including hallucinations, agitation, anxiety, paranoia, perceptual changes, irritability and unpredictable behavior,\u201d Dr. Sack said. \u201cHistorically, PCP appealed to young adults and was frequently used in combination with marijuana. We have not seen a marked uptick at our programs and it is remains relatively uncommon compared with other illicit drugs in our centers.\u201d The effects of angel dust are legendary in law enforcement. \u00a0"Kids fighting four of us and running naked down the street because their body temp is going through the roof," Morrell said to Rolling Stone. \u00a0In the \u201970s, before there was widespread use of meth and crack, "dust was the madman's drug of choice," the magazine reported. \u00a0It was banned for its "psych-ward side effects: mania, delirium, violent hallucinations." A wealth of PCP arrests has led Slate.com to create a regular feature called \u201cThe Month in PCP,\u201d with a July segment featuring the story of a 32-year-old driver who hit three employees, a fire hydrant, a parking meter, a tree, and a man riding a Citi Bike. The driver, who allegedly had a bag of PCP in his sock, kept asking, \u201cAm I dead?\u201d when authorities arrived. Here are some other PCP-related crimes:\r\n\r\nA Texas mother was arrested May 22 for allegedly trying to drown her 4- and 6-year-old daughters in a bathtub while high on PCP. According to police documents, Sonja Gardner, who said she had smoked marijuana laced with PCP, decided to kill her daughters after they asked her for snacks. Camden, N.J., resident Osvaldo Rivera, 31, told police that he smoked a combination of PCP and pot before he allegedly slit the throats of a 6-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister in September 2012. Also in Camden, authorities say Chevonne Thomas was smoking PCP before beheading her 2-year-old son, Zahree, putting his head in a freezer, and then killing herself in August 2012. In Oklahoma City, a man reportedly high on PCP was arrested after he was seen running down the street naked.\u00a0 The man\u2019s mother said that when she tried to talk to him, he yelled "Alah to God! I am Bootsey." And in a story that received international attention, police say a patient on PCP being taken to the hospital in the District of Columbia by an ambulance jumped out and stole a second ambulance that had arrived to help him. Nancy Wride is a senior writer at Promises Behavioral Health. Before coming to Elements, Wride spent more than two decades as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times. Top photo: A burned-out PCP lab in Los Angeles.