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Health officials are warning the people of New York to stay away from an illegal aphrodisiac made from toad venom (WTF??) after the product apparently killed a man.

The product is sold at sex shops and neighborhood stores under names including Piedra, Love Stone, Jamaican Stone, Black Stone and Chinese Rock. It is banned by the Food and Drug Administration, but shipments from overseas suppliers still occasionally slip past customs.
Buyers may have no idea they are dealing with anything illegal or dangerous. The various types of "stone'' are often sold packaged in plastic, with a bar-code, a price tag and official-looking instructions for use.

Health officials say the culprit was a hardened resin, made at least partly from venom collected from toads of the Bufo genus, containing chemicals known as bufadienolides that can disrupt heart rhythms. The aphrodisiac was supposed to have been applied to the skin, not eaten, but authorities said even that use can be harmful.

'There is no definitely safe way to use it,' said Dr. Robert Hoffman, director of the city's poison control center. 'Don't buy it. Don't sell it. If you have it, don't use it. Throw it out.'

The same type of product killed at least four people in the early 1990s. Following that outbreak, city investigators went looking for the poison and found it was being sold sporadically in grocery stores, smoke shops and from street vendors.

*News story from deevasquez.com

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