More than 30 people overdose at downtown CT park; synthetic pot suspected

Sandy Bogucki of the Yale School of Public Health.

At least 71 people have overdosed from synthetic marijuana in CT with at least 52 of them at or near a CT city park, authorities said late Wednesday.

After dozens of overdoses occurred, first responders set up a command post at the historic New Haven Green park in downtown.

No deaths were reported, and most of those brought to local hospitals have been discharged. One person had to be transported three times over the course of the day, he said.

Fire, police, and EMS personnel have said they will continue to staff a command post on the New Haven Green in case of further overdoses. Some patients were treated multiple times, officials said.

As Fire Chief John Alston Jr. spoke to reporters in New Haven, Connecticut, about a spate of drug overdoses on Wednesday, he heard shouting coming from behind him.

Police have arrested a man who they say may have passed out free samples of synthetic marijuana. The identities of those people weren't immediately released. Officials weren't certain whether Thursday's overdoses involved the same batch of "K2" synthetic marijuana. The danger lies in the drug's unpredictability and its tendency to be cut with potent opioids or in some cases an anticoagulant used in rat poison.

First responders scrambled all day Wednesday to handle almost 80 overdoses caused by what officials believe to be synthetic marijuana, which is commonly called K2. Six people were in a life-threatening condition last night.

But city officials said initial testing found no opioids in the K2 it tested.

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Officials described a hectic scene as emergency crews worked to respond to all of the overdose reports. "Let's address it that way", he said.

"Do not come down to the Green and purchase this K2", New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell told WVIT-TV. The patients were taken to area hospitals for overdose-related respiratory illnesses, Officer David Hartman said.

During the news conference live streamed by WTNH News 8, first responders rushed to treat a nearby victim. More than 70 people fell ill from suspected drug overdoses on the green and were taken to local hospitals. "We're pretty beat up".

An emergency medical technician for the New Haven Fire Department told the Register that he's never had such an abnormal day at work in the five years he's been there.

"I think this is a lot more than we have normally seen". "At that point, we'd go help that patient, and while helping that patient, another person went down". "The substance behind these overdoses is highly unsafe and must be avoided".

But synthetic marijuana is also known to have psychotic effects on some users.

"We know that it is a chronic relapsing disease", Harp said.

The overdoses follow a similar outbreak at the same park on July 4, when more than a dozen people were treated.

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