Dozens Overdose In Connecticut Park On Tainted Synthetic Marijuana

A police officer speaks to a man walking on New Haven Green

Bill Sikes Associated Press A police officer speaks to a man walking on New Haven Green

One man has been arrested after more than 70 people overdosed in a CT park in just one day from a bad batch of K2 synthetic marijuana.

The DEA is helping to investigate how at least 76 people overdosed in New Haven, Connecticut in the past 24 hours.

This isn't the first time the city has seen a mass-overdose: A New Haven man pleaded guilty to charges in connection with overdoses of more than a dozen people in June 2016.

No deaths were reported, but at least two people suffered life-threatening symptoms.

Police have arrested a man who they say may have passed out free samples of synthetic marijuana.

Dr Kathryn Hawk, an Emergency Department physician at Yale New Have Hospital, said the drug was laced with fentanyl, but police have yet to confirm the drug.

At one point Wednesday shouts interrupted a news conference with the fire chief to alert authorities to another overdose. Most were taken to the hospital, except for four people who refused treatment.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration tested some of the synthetic marijuana seized in New Haven and did not find fentanyl, said Rick Fontana, the city's emergency operations director.

"The substance behind these overdoses is highly unsafe and must be avoided", Malloy said, adding that state public health officials had delivered 50 doses of Naloxone to New Haven to replenish the supply expended by first responders over the course of the 24-hour crisis.

On Thursday morning, fire and emergency crews responded to an area right across from City Hall, working feverishly to bring patients back. New Haven police said one person is in custody. Others vomited. Some just became nauseous or lethargic.

Three overdoses took place on Tuesday night, with dozens of others happening on Wednesday.

"I'm extremely grateful for the timely and effective work of first responders who helped revive, transport, and save these victims", she said.

When the number was at 30 overdoses, the police chief told WVIT to warn residents: "Do not come down to the Green and purchase this K2".

The patients included people of various ages and demographics, Alston said. Alston said many contend with mental health issues, making the drug abuse a medical issue in addition to a legal one.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said the state's public health agency provided 50 doses of naloxone, another name for Narcan, to replenish the supply that had been used on Wednesday. So far, there have been few scientific studies of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the human brain, but researchers do know that some of them bind more strongly than marijuana to the cell receptors affected by THC, and can produce much stronger effects. "We have no deaths reported".

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