People Overdosed on This Drug in the New Haven Area of CT

People Overdosed on This Drug in the New Haven Area of CT

More than 70 people have overdosed in or around a historic CT park near the Yale University campus after receiving what authorities believe was synthetic marijuana laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl.

The first overdose reports started coming in on Tuesday, mostly from within the New Haven Green park area.

No deaths have been reported thus far, but three people remain in critical condition in a local hospital, according to FOX 61, the local FOX affiliate in Hartford.

Paramedics sprinted from patient to patient in a park overlooked by Yale University buildings as users began to show symptoms including vomiting, hallucination and unconsciousness.

New Haven first responders were called to a similar overdose outbreak on the Green on July 4, when more than a dozen people were sick from synthetic marijuana.

While K2 may look like marijuana, drug experts say it is far more potent and risky.

Police said late Wednesday that they arrested one man on an unrelated warrant and viewed him as a "person of interest" in connection with the drugs the victims were using. A public defender said there was no proof linking any drugs Parker may have had to the overdoses.

"We literally had people running around the Green providing treatment", said Rick Fontana, the city's emergency operations director, according to The Associated Press.

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Authorities believe the drug that caused the overdoses is K-2, a synthetic marijuana.

As of Friday no overdose deaths had been reported although many smokers had to be resuscitated after ingesting the K2, according to Bogucki.

The overdoses prompted the Office of Emergency Medical Services to issue a "Situational Awareness Advisory" about K2 to all EMS organizations in the state. Since it exploded on the scene starting in 2015, the drug has been blamed for mass overdoses across the country.

They also revealed that the number of overdoses was 114, some of whom were patients who needed to be treated multiple times.

PEOPLE has contacted the New Haven Police Department for comment. "We'll continue to have a strong police presence downtown to make sure anyone who would think about filling the gap, that has been opened by the arrests of these three offenders, would be deterred", said Campbell.

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".

The state Senate Republican leader, Len Fasano, of North Haven, criticized New Haven officials on Thursday for not addressing drug use on the Green - a claim the mayor disputed.

Emergency responders are pictured at the park on Wednesday. He said the Green has become "a place of despair" and "no longer an attraction for families or economic development".

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