Nearly 80 overdose on synthetic pot in park near Yale

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.

People on and around the historic New Haven Green near Yale University began falling ill shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, and the overdoses continued into Thursday morning. But some overdosed again, including one person who was treated for three separate overdoses.

Officials blamed K2, a synthetic and marijuana-like drug that's smoked and can often be laced with risky or even lethal substances.

But city officials said initial testing found no opioids in the K2 it tested. "That caused us to respond with a multi-casualty incident", New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said.

Naloxone, a drug used to treat narcotic overdoses in emergencies, appears to have been ineffective in relieving the symptoms. The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses.

There have been no fatalities reported over the incident, but some of the individuals are in critical condition, officials say. "It brought out Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven Police Department, Fire Department, AMR". Three of the people who overdosed died after taking cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl, over a dozen others were hospitalized.

Drug Enforcement Administration test results confirmed that samples of the drug were unadulterated K2, according to Laurence Grotheer, spoksperson for New Haven Mayor Toni Harp. No deaths were reported in either outbreak.

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"We have far fewer sleeping on the Green but the drug use is bad", he said.

In all, 72 people were transported to the hospital and four people refused treatment, according to Rick Fontana, New Haven Director of Emergency Operations.

Police arrested one local man believed to be connected to some of the overdoses, city officials said the statement. 'Narcan was not effective here at the scene, ' said Alston.

A total of 71 people were rushed to various hospitals suffering from apparent overdoses.

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

A similar mass overdose occurred on New Haven Green just one month ago, on July 4, when more than a dozen people fell sick from synthetic marijuana.

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

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