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

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

People are saying 46 people overdosed Wednesday from a suspected bad batch of "K2" synthetic marijuana at or near a city park in CT.

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

"Two individuals had life-threatening symptoms, and the others had non-life-threatening symptoms", he said.

Police Chief Anthony Campbell said one of three people arrested in connection with the overdoses apparently gave K2 away for free in an effort to get people hooked. Their names have not been released and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

The man arrested on Wednesday is suspected of being connected to some of the drugs that caused the overdoses, NBC News Connecticut reported. Fasano said the Green has become "a place of despair" and "no longer an attraction for families or economic development". Three of the people who overdosed died after taking cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl, over a dozen others were hospitalized.

Dozens of people suffering from apparent overdoses were transported to local hospitals from the New Haven Green, according to Rick Fontana, director of the city's Office of Emergency Operations. She also asked that the city be given larger supplies of the opioid antidote Narcan from the state Department of Public Health, said city spokesman Laurence Grotheer. Emergency responders rushed to one victim as officials were giving a news conference nearby on Wednesday morning.

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

By late Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Toni Harp had increased police presence on the green, and directed that the New Haven Fire Department and AMR ambulance maintain an around-the clock incident-command center there. Fontana said a widely used anti-opioid-overdose drug given to some victims at the park did not seem to be effective, but the same drug did help some patients recover when given in higher doses at hospitals.

The number of patients had first responders stretched thin and overwhelmed by the number of emergency calls.

The number of people treated for apparent overdoses of a synthetic drug at a large park near Yale University over the past three days increased to almost 80 Thursday. "Let's address it that way", he said. So far, there have been few scientific studies of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the human brain, but researchers do know that some of them bind more strongly than marijuana to the cell receptors affected by THC, and can produce much stronger effects.

The first overdoses were reported near Yale University on Tuesday night. "We have no deaths reported".

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