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Benzocaine

Type Psychoactive
Legal Status Not Controlled
Benzocaine
Odourless anaesthetic typically used locally for relief of oropharyngeal pain, can be found as a cutting/bulking agent due to appearance as a white powder, reported to have a bitter taste. A common adulterant in both illicit and licit psychoactive drugs. As a comparatively cheap chemical to produce with anaesthetic effect, it is commonly incorporated as a cutting or bulking agent in drugs of abuse in white powder form. Oral absorption is poor due to low water solubility, however ingestion may result in local anaesthetic effects in the oesophagus.
Toxicity
1. Due to anaesthetic properties, it is possible to be numbed to a point where eating or drinking is difficult, leading to an increased risk of inhaling food & drink and consequent difficulties associated with inhalation of foodstuffs. Therefore it is strongly advised to remain nil by mouth in instances where the mouth or throat feels numbed. 2. Blue or grey skin is indicative of cyanosis, possibly caused by methaemoglobinaemia, a medical condition where the oxygen-carrying component in the blood, haemoglobin, is changed to form methaemoglobin, which is far less effective at carrying oxygen. Consequently, the skin turns blue or grey from de-oxygenation. This is potentially life threatening and users with this symptom should be assessed in hospital. 3. Users with pre-existing heart, circulatory or blood pressure problems should avoid the use of benzocaine specifically, as they may be more susceptible to cardiac toxicity.
Short Term Effects
Numbing of the area relating to the route of exposure is common due to the chemical’s anaesthetic properties – this can often be masked by the drug of abuse it is combined with. Restlessness, confusion, drowsiness, weakness, shivering and muscle twitching leading to convulsions may occur following use. Additionally, hypotension with refractory tachycardia & arrhythmias may occur. Cyanosis (“blue” or “grey” skin) may develop due to methaemoglobinaemia risk. Toxicity may occur from sodium channel blockade