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Studies show that the buying and selling of cutting agents has become a lucrative business in itself. Do you think the practice of selling legal chemicals should also be outlawed? Why or why not?
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The substances - such as benzocaine and lidocaine - are legal and imported from China and other countries. They are used in the UK as a dental anaesthetic and as an ingredient in first-aid ointments, throat sprays and sunburn remedies.
They are so popular because they closely mimic the physical sensations associated with cocaine, such as a numbing of the mouth or nose, says Dean Ames, a leading drugs scientist at the FSS (reference from bbc.co.uk).