Athens County Man Hospitalized After Smoking 'Death Grip' Product From Store

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UPDATED: Tuesday June 25, 2013 6:04 PM

An 18-year-old Albany man was hospitalized Monday night after he used a product called "Death Grip" that he bought in a local store.

The Athens Sheriff's Office said the man was found barely breathing around 8 p.m. in a State Street residence.

A 21-year-old witness told investigators that he bought "Death Grip" over-the-counter at Twilight Boutique in Athens. The witness said he took one hit, and the 18 year old took multiple hits.

The sheriff's office said the product appeared to be synthetic marijuana.

10TV News went to the store where it was sold, but a worker said that they were sold out of “Death Grip.” The worker said that the product is intended to be used for aromatherapy.

"Something with a name like ‘Death Grip’ - it speaks for itself, I feel like," said college student Alex Anders.

He and his friend George Dowling were shocked to hear that a packet labeled as potpourri, pictured with a skull and a bloody hand on the packet, was responsible for putting an 18-year-old man in the hospital overnight.

"I see different people who, you know, sometimes take the wrong package and make a mistake here or there,” said Dowling. “That's a really big price to pay for a small mistake like that and doing something wrong."

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly said that this incident was the first time he had heard of “Death Grip.”

He said that he is worried that it is the newest danger on the synthetic drug scene.

"On the label it says potpourri, and it's not for human consumption, but we'll keep this matter under investigation,” said Kelly.  “There's certainly going to be some follow-up."

Deputies continue to investigate, and the product has been sent to a lab for further testing.

If it tests positive for illegal ingredients of a synthetic drug, charges could be filed.

“We have seen this before in bath salts like Spice and K2,” said Kelly.  “Kids are getting into the synthetic drugs, and it’s a very dangerous thing to be playing with.”

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