WARNING: DO NOT take Toad Venom for your erection problems!!

If you’re one who’s using Piedra, Love Stone, Jamaican Stone, Black Stone and Chinese Rock throw it out and please stick to herbal remedies or Viagra, not poisonous remedies for the limp problem.

NEW YORK – Health officials are warning New Yorkers to stay away from an illegal aphrodisiac made from toad venom after the product apparently killed a man.

The city’s poison control centre issued the warning after receiving a hospital report that a 35-year-old man who ate the hard, brown substance died earlier this month.

The product is sold under names including Piedra, Love Stone, Jamaican Stone, Black Stone and Chinese Rock at sex shops and neighbourhood stores. It is banned by the Food and Drug Administration.

City health officials say the victim, whose identity has not been released, was admitted to the hospital complaining of chest and abdominal pain.

He died two days later.

Health officials say the hardened resin, made with venom from toads of the Bufo genus, contains chemicals that can disrupt heart rhythms.

The aphrodisiac is 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 centre. "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 a 40-year-old man in Brooklyn in 2002 and at least four New Yorkers in the early 1990s. A 17-year-old boy also fell seriously ill, but survived following hours of aggressive treatment.

City investigators went looking for the substance and found it was being sold sporadically in grocery stores, smoke shops and from street vendors.

It isn’t clear how available the aphrodisiac is elsewhere in the United States, although some similar products have been seized from suspected drug traffickers in other East Coast cities, authorities said.



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