A residential neighborhood of Auckland, New Zealand, is seen from the air, July 8, 2017. (Reuters photo)

 WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand officials are urging people to stop smoking synthetic marijuana after they say nine people have died this month in the city of Auckland after using the drug.

Police say they suspect a 31-year-old woman was smoking synthetic marijuana shortly before her death Thursday evening, the latest in a string of such incidents. Police say other factors may have contributed to the woman’s death.

Synthetic marijuana is a manufactured substance that uses chemicals similar to those found in natural marijuana to produce a high. It is illegal in New Zealand.

Authorities say the drug is dangerous and is sometimes laced with other chemicals.

Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall says the drug can cause seizures and many people have been hospitalised after using it.