Saturday, 17 November, 2018

71 people overdose on K2 in New Haven; 1 person arrested

Samantha Long | 16 August, 2018, 11:30

The majority of people overdosed on suspected synthetic marijuana at the CT city park and another two people nearby fell ill with similar symptoms around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, officials said.

The patients included people of various ages and demographics, Alston said.

Another 5 people refused medical attention and were not in enough distress to be transported for treatment, he said. More than 70 people fell ill from suspected drug overdoses on the green and were taken to local hospitals.

Authorities said the patients had smoked "K2", a synthetic cannabinoid, mixed with the powerful opioid fentanyl. She also asked that the city be given larger supplies of the opioid antidote Narcan from the state Department of Public Health, said city spokesman Laurence Grotheer. Three more overdoses were reported at the Green Tuesday night, but officials could not confirm whether they were related.

Fire Department first responders were handling so many calls that they were experiencing "compassionate-care fatigue" and had to be rotated off the engine companies, said New Haven Fire Chief John Alston. Police said Wednesday afternoon that they had made an arrest in connection to the overdoses, WFSB reports.

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"As we were trying to pick up from the upper green, we ended up with two additional victims on the lower green, one of which was a victim we had from this morning, so we're not sure if he sued another substance of if there is a lingering effect of what he used earlier on", Alston said.

No one has died, but two individuals are considered to be in serious, life-threatening condition.

"We heard from people on the Green this morning that it could potentially be laced with PCP and some of the reactions of the patients in the emergency department would suggest it was an opioid involved as well", Bogucki said. The state Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services have been assisting New Haven officials throughout the day. First responders sprinted across the park from victim to victim as more calls came in. Lower doses administered at the scene had been ineffective. The additives boost the high, but can create a unsafe, sometimes deadly cocktail.

Officials said the blood of Wednesday's victims was being tested to see what exactly they ingested.

The overdoses were concentrated on the New Haven Green but because it's now dark the incident is beginning to branch out to different parts of the city, where more people are being found, police said.

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