New Haven police make arrest after dozens of overdoses

A police officer speaks to a man walking on New Haven Green

One man has been arrested after more than 70 people overdosed in a CT park in just one day from a bad batch of K2 synthetic marijuana.

Police swarmed a CT park near Yale University and searched people's homes for drugs Thursday in an effort to prevent more overdoses from a batch of synthetic marijuana blamed hospitalizing more than 70 people. Three of them happened Tuesday night. 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.

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

A police officer speaks to a man walking on New Haven Green, on Wednesday, in New Haven, Conn.

Police did not immediately release the name of the man who was arrested, saying they were waiting for victims to positively identify him.

No deaths were reported but police said at least two people suffered life-threatening symptoms after consuming the synthetic drug.

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The majority of cases were centered on the New Haven Green, adjacent to Yale University.

A "mass overdose" appears to have taken place in a CT park today (Aug. 15), according to news reports. Their symptoms included vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states, officials said.

'We literally had people running around the Green providing treatment, ' said Rick Fontana, New Haven's emergency operations director. About five of his friends from the city's green overdosed on Wednesday. He said that in addition to state charges, the suspects could also face federal charges. Fontana said that as of Thursday at 8 a.m., there had been no overdoses in New Haven Green for the last nine hours. More than 70 people fell ill from suspected drug overdoses on the green and were taken to local hospitals. "Some of the reactions of the patients in the emergency department would suggest that there was an opioid involved as well", Bogucki told reporters during a news conference Wednesday.

New Haven police said one person is in custody. "The substance behind these overdoses is highly unsafe and must be avoided".

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy tweeted that the emergency in New Haven was "deeply troubling and illustrative of the very real and serious threat that illicit street drugs pose to health of individuals".

More than a dozen people overdosed on synthetic marijuana July 4 in New Haven, The Associated Press reported at the time. The city also saw more than a dozen synthetic marijuana overdoses in late January. No deaths have been reported.

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