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

A total of 15 people overdosed on the New Haven Green starting Wednesday morning, authorities said at a press conference earlier in the day.

The majority of people overdosed on suspected synthetic marijuana at the CT city park and another two people nearby fell ill with similar symptoms around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, officials said.

Three people were arrested, including people who were found on the Green with the drug on them.

The Courant said authorities had determined that patients had smoked the synthetic cannabinoid K-2 laced with fentanyl.

He says one of the victims still had some of the drug, which was sent off to a lab for testing.

Fire Department first responders were handling so many calls that they were experiencing "compassionate-care fatigue" and had to be rotated off the engine companies, said New Haven Fire Chief John Alston.

"It's a nationwide problem", Alston said of drug overdoses. The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses.

Two of the ODs were life-threatening, and some people did not respond when the anti-overdose medication Naloxone was administered, he said. New Haven police said one person is in custody.

Synthetic cannabis, often sold under names such as spice or K2, is usually made from plant material sprayed with chemicals that mimic the high from real cannabis. In May, for example, 25 people were hospitalized in one area of Brooklyn, New York, after having negative reactions to what was believed to be K2, police said.

At least 76 overdoses occurred in New Haven, Connecticut, over a 24-hour period, WVIT-TV reported.

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.

"We heard from people on the green this morning that it potentially included PCP".

First responders in New Haven initially suspected that the drugs were laced with some form of opioid and used Narcan, which combats opioid overdoses, on the patients. "Let's address it that way", Alston said.

"This was a particularly odd, rare occasion where (there was) call after call for man down, obviously with symptoms of some kind of overdose, and at the time of getting that patient packaged and transported to the hospital, we'd see another immediately fall down, right there", Jones said.

The victims ranged in age; however, many are part of the homeless population in the city, police said.

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