An illegal aphrodisiac sold on the street under a variety of names has killed a 35-year-old New York City man, prompting health officials to issue an alert.
According to the Associated Press, the man, who officials did not identify, was admitted to a New York City hospital earlier this month complaining of pain in his chest and abdomen. Health officials were able to determine he had taken a poisonous substance that comes in a hard, brown form, and is known as Love Stone, Jamaican Stone, Black Stone and Chinese Rock.
It is sold in many New York City neighborhoods in neighborhood stores, the A.P. reports, and the writing on the package is usually in a foreign language.
The warning from New York City's top dangerous substances officer was pointed: "There is no definitely safe way to use it," Dr. Robert Hoffman, director of the city's poison control center, told the wire service. "Don't buy it. Don't sell it. If you have it, don't use it. Throw it out."
Some people eat the substance, the A.P. reports, instead of applying it to the skin, as it is intended to be used. But even external application can be dangerous. The active ingredient comes from the venom of toads of the Bufo genus, and it can disrupt the heartbeat, the wire service says.