Three people have been hospitalised after smoking a new ‘legal high’ herbal incense dubbed the ‘Atomic Bomb’, police have said. Police helped one 19-year-old man who was having seizures in a New York mall parking garage after smoking the AM-HI-CO Atomic Bomb incense at the weekend.
A day later two women aged 19 and 20 were found ‘disoriented and having trouble breathing’ at a New York house where they had smoked the herbal blend product.
Authorities in New York said it was the first time they were seeing people fall ill from the incense, and admitted they were unsure how widespread its use is.
The ‘Atomic Bomb’ brand is a herbal blend which looks like marijuana and is smoked the same way.
Despite warnings on its packaging that it is ‘not for human consumption’, the incense is now bought and smoked by many teenagers and young people in the U.S.
Police in Clarkstown, New York, said the herbal incense is now becoming the fake drug of choice in many Tri-State areas.
It is legally available in tobacco shops, with those affected at the weekend thought to have bought the drug at the Palisades Mall in West Nyack, New York.
The 19-year-old Wisconsin man found on Saturday was said to have had breathing difficulties when he was taken to hospital.
Sgt Bauman added: ‘When we responded, he was combative, and, obviously, was high on something.’
Friends told police the man had been smoking ‘Atomic Bomb’ and he was sent to intensive care. One of the women found a day later was also having trouble breathing and had ‘lost the use of her legs’. Campaigners have called for an investigation into the easy availability of the drug, which has been classified as 100 per cent legal in all 50 U.S. states.
Rita Bowles, director of the Rockland Council on Alcoholism and other Drug Dependence, said: ‘Young people especially think it’s benign. They don’t understand the harmful effects on their bodies.’ Police Sgt. Tim O’Neil said: ‘It just says it’s a novelty collector’s item, and, to tell you the truth, the smell inside isn’t all that great.
‘So, I don’t who would be using this for incense, but that’s how they’re selling it.
‘It’s scary and it’s also scary that it’s legal. We can’t even charge anybody.’