Forty-six people overdosed Wednesday at or near a CT park from a suspected bad batch of "K2" synthetic marijuana, requiring paramedics to be stationed there to provide treatment, authorities said.
Numerous cases took place at the New Haven Green, a park near the university where a similar mass overdose took place on July 4. This is in addition to the more than 70 that were reported between Tuesday night and Wednesday. Some victims tested positive for the powerful opioid fentanyl, but it appeared most if not all the overdoses were caused only by a potent batch of "K2" synthetic marijuana, said Dr. Kathryn Hawk, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where numerous victims were treated.
A police officer speaks to a man walking on New Haven Green, on Wednesday, in New Haven, Conn.
Police said they arrested 37-year-old Felix Melendez, who was out on parole prior to his arrest, according to the Register; he's believed to be connected to at least some of the overdoses in the park. Although there have been no deaths, at least two people suffered life-threatening symptoms, according to authorities.
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.
CT police have made multiple arrests in connection with 76 overdose cases at a New Haven park.
Paramedics sprinted from patient to patient in a park overlooked by Yale University buildings as users began to show symptoms including vomiting, hallucination and unconsciousness. Other reports said it was 76 people.
"That caused us to respond with a multi-casualty incident", he said. He said that in addition to state charges, the suspects could also face federal charges.
"It's a nationwide problem", Alston said of drug overdoses.
"Better education, more resources, definitely it will be getting a lot more attention from a law enforcement standpoint, of course, resources like Narcan which we had brought in, being able to have Narcan possibly stationed on the green, so we can have a faster response", Campbell said. Fontana said that as of Thursday at 8 a.m., there had been no overdoses in New Haven Green for the last nine hours.
Police and fire officials said the K2 was potentially laced with some type of opioid.
New Haven first responders were called to a similar overdose outbreak on the Green on July 4, when more than a dozen people were sick from synthetic marijuana.
Today New Haven was on the front lines of a coast-to-coast struggle to combat the public health menace of illicit distribution and use of what appear to be tainted street drugs. By late Wednesday night there had been no deaths reported.