Police work to stop overdoses after 76 fall ill in CT

A police officer speaks to a man at New Haven Green on Wednesday

Police work to stop overdoses after 76 fall ill in CT

At least 46 people have overdosed at or near a park that runs alongside Yale University from a suspected bad batch of K2 synthetic cannabis, authorities have said.

CBS said the victims, covering a range of ages, experienced "a multitude of signs and symptoms [including] vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states", said Rick Fontana, director of the city's Office of Emergency Operations.

Police Chief Anthony Campbell said increased patrols were swarming the green in the shadow of Yale University, where drug users began dropping Tuesday.

The man arrested on Wednesday is suspected of being connected to some of the drugs that caused the overdoses, NBC News Connecticut reported.

No deaths have been reported, and officials said most patients have been discharged from hospitals.

By Wednesday morning, police were dealing with as many as nine overdose cases in one hour. They have reportedly been charged with drug possession.

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Local and federal authorities also arrested two other men but are still investigating whether they played any roles in the overdoses.

"People are self-medicating for several different reasons, and every agency - police, fire, medical, hospitals - all are strained at this time".

A similar incident occurred on July 4 when more than a dozen people in the same park were treated for sicknesses related to synthetic marijuana, The Associated Press reported. The city also saw more than a dozen synthetic marijuana overdoses in late January.

The slew of overdoses comes as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a preliminary report on Wednesday on the record number of American drug deaths.

Both drugs, especially fentanyl, have been linked to rising overdoses across the country.

Doctors said some victims improved after being given the opioid overdose antidote drug naxolone, while others did not. "Narcan was not effective here at the scene", said Alston. "There's even three churches inside the park", David Hartman, a New Haven Police spokesman told CNN.

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Officials blamed K2 and said it can often be laced with risky or even lethal substances.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the substance behind the overdoses is highly unsafe and must be avoided.

"Today, we're joining together to send a strong warning to anyone who may use synthetic marijuana products that these products can be especially risky as a result of the seemingly deliberate use of brodifacoum in these illegal products", the officials said.

Synthetic marijuana typical consists of plant material sprayed with chemicals or other substances sold in small, colorful packets.

A drug dealer has been arrested after 76 people overdosed in the space of 24 hours in CT, as national figures showed drug-related deaths had hit a record high.

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