Police work to stop overdoses after 76 fall ill in CT

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

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

A man has been arrested in the United States after more than 40 people overdosed in a CT park on a drug suspected of being laced with an opioid, police say.

K2 caused multiple overdoses in New Haven in February when five people overdosed on the drug within two hours, resulting in one death.

On Tuesday night, emergency crews responded to three overdoses in New Haven Green park. They say no deaths have been reported so far, but at least six victims were near death.

A doctor at one hospital says some patients tested positive for fentanyl, but it appears most of the overdoses were caused by a potent batch of straight K2 synthetic marijuana, also known as Kush.

WVIT reports that the man arrested "is believed connected to at least some of the overdoses" and "had drugs on him at the time of his arrest, [but] has yet to be charged in any of the overdose cases".

Authorities described chaotic scenes at the park near Yale University, with people falling unconscious at the same time. The total number of overdose cases grew to 76. One engine company, for example, responded to eight separate overdoses. New Haven got a black eye because we got the worst batch ever.

Authorities said the patients had smoked "K2", a synthetic cannabinoid, mixed with the powerful opioid fentanyl.

"It's very reminiscent of a mass casualty incident", New Haven Office of Emergency Management Director Rick Fontana told the New Haven Register.

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.

While New Haven is famed as home to Yale and its world-class hospitals, as well as two other universities, it is also the fourth poorest community in the wealthy state and has the state's highest crime rate.

"We are searching and executing search warrants at additional locations to make sure that any additional product that may be out there that we can get in to our custody", says New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell. Most of those overdoses also happened at the New Haven green, the wire service said.

She said toxicology tests will help investigators learn more about the nature of the drug.

'Today's emergency is deeply troubling and illustrative of the very real and serious threat that illicit street drugs pose to health of individuals, ' the Democratic governor said.

More than a dozen people overdosed on synthetic marijuana at the same park July 4. The state Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services have been assisting New Haven officials throughout the day. No deaths have been reported. Others became nauseated and vomited, officials said.

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