More Than 70 Overdoses In New Haven Spark Drug Investigation

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Cops, firefighters and EMTs rushed to the New Haven Green in the shadow of Yale University on Wednesday morning after more than a dozen people apparently overdosed on an unknown drug.

"We literally had people running around the Green providing treatment", New Haven's emergency operations director, Rick Fontana, said, according to the TV station. An additional three people overdosed at the park Tuesday night (Aug. 14).

"Testing done today in NY by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency confirms that samples of the substance that caused today's overdose cases on the New Haven Green are K-2, a potent, synthetic drug that induces marijuana-like effects", said Director of Communications for New Haven, Laurence Grotheer.

Three arrests have been made in the case, Hartman said, but officials can not say for certain if all three arrested or just one of them are directly responsible for the overdoses.

After Wednesday's surge of overdoses, the issue appeared to have quieted. The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses.

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

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

Synthetic marijuana, which generally is plant material sprayed with chemicals that mimic the high from real marijuana, has been blamed for overdoses across the country. "It is taking people out very quickly, people having respiratory failure. He's out cold", an unidentified bystander shouted, according to the New Haven Register.

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Some of the people were unconscious - others were vomiting or exhibiting other overdose symptoms.

Dr Kathryn Hawk, an Emergency Department physician at Yale New Haven Hospital, said the drug was laced with fentanyl, but police have yet to confirm this. No deaths have been reported.

In some cases, patients improved after receiving high doses of the drug naloxone that reverses opioid overdoses, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"We've heard from people on the green that it potentially included PCP".

Police arrested a local man on Wednesday that they believe may be connected to the drug overdoses in New Haven, according to a news release. "Let's address it that way", he said.

Officials described a hectic scene as emergency crews worked to respond to all of the overdose reports. "Every agency - police, fire, medical, hospitals - all are strained at this time".

More than a dozen people overdosed on synthetic marijuana July 4 in New Haven, The Associated Press reported at the time.