Numerous overdoses occurred on or near the New Haven Green, a large downtown park, and could be linked to "K2" synthetic marijuana that was laced with another drug, New Haven Fire Chief John Alston told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.
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. Three of them happened Tuesday night.
Lt. Ernest Jones, an emergency medical technician for the New Haven Fire Department, told the Register he's had his job for five years, and never had such an abnormal day at work.
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As was the case on Wednesday, the synthetic drug K2 was suspected. The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses. No deaths have been reported, but authorities say two people had life-threatening symptoms. Patients were taken to the Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael. "It is taking people out very quickly, people having respiratory failure".
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state departments of Public Health and Mental Health and Addiction Services were helping New Haven officials. Some people fell unconscious and others vomited.
Nationally, overdose deaths reached a record level of 72,000 in 2017, according to a recent federal report.
Dr Kathryn Hawk, an Emergency Department physician at Yale New Haven Hospital, said the drug was laced with fentanyl, but police have yet to confirm this.
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"Even while we were trying to return people to service, they were passing victims on the ground", Fire Chief John Alston told reporters. Police said Wednesday afternoon that they had made an arrest in connection to the overdoses, WFSB reports.
Some patients treated at the Green did not initially respond to Naloxone, and needed a higher concentration of the overdose reversal drug once they arrived at hospitals, Bogucki said.
A look at the scene of multiple overdoses in the area of a CT park on Wed., Aug. 15, 2018. "Let's address it that way", he said.
The victims ranged in age; however, many are part of the homeless population in the city, police said.
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The overdoses follow a similar outbreak at the same park on July 4, when more than a dozen people were treated. "This is a problem that's not going away".