Most of the overdoses were on the New Haven Green, a popular, historic downtown park that borders part of Yale University, and officials said they expected the overdose total to increase. Three of them happened Tuesday night.
K2 is a synthetic cannabinoid related to marijuana that is frequently laced with other drugs, said Dr.
Lt. Ernest Jones, an emergency medical technician for the New Haven Fire Department, told the Register he's had his job for five years, and never had such an abnormal day at work.
Police respond to the scene of multiple overdoses at a Connecticut-area park on Wed., Aug. 15, 2018.
One patient who was sent to the hospital for a K2 overdose tested positive for fentanyl in a toxicology screen, but that it may have been used separately from the synthetic marijuana, he said. Two people had life-threatening symptoms, he added. Vomiting and hallucinating drug users dropped like flies throughout the day as emergency crews raced to the New Haven Green to save lives.
As Fire Chief John Alston Jr. spoke to reporters in New Haven, Connecticut, about a spate of drug overdoses on Wednesday, he heard shouting coming from behind him.More news: James Gunn Won't Be Rehired for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
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The federal Drug Enforcement Administration tested some of the synthetic marijuana seized in New Haven and did not find fentanyl, said Rick Fontana, the city's emergency operations director.
Officials said Wednesday's response was a tremendous drain on the fire department. "We are doing our best to get people to the hospital in the safest, most practical and efficient manner".
"Do not come down to the Green and purchase this K2", New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell told WVIT-TV. Some individuals who were released from the hospital needed to be treated a second time for an additional apparent overdose, Fontana said.
First responders went through a lot of the life-saving anti-overdose drug Narcan.
A similar, but smaller overdose incident, played out on the Green on July 4, when more than a dozen people became sick from synthetic marijuana, according to the Associated Press.
Today New Haven was on the front lines of a coast-to-coast struggle to combat the public health menace of illicit distribution and use of what appear to be tainted street drugs. So far, there have been few scientific studies of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on the human brain, but researchers do know that some of them bind more strongly than marijuana to the cell receptors affected by THC, and can produce much stronger effects.