At Least Two Dozen People Overdosed in a Connecticut Park Today

Laced K2 tied to at least 40 overdoses in New Haven park

The DEA continues to assist the New Haven police with the arrests, and into the investigation on how the mass-overdose happened.

The victims ranged in age; however, many are part of the homeless population in the city, police said. Paramedics were seen sprinting from patient to patient as they began to show symptoms including vomiting, hallucination and unconsciousness.

"People are self-medicating for several different reasons and every agency - police, fire, medical, hospitals - all are strained at this time".

Police arrested 37-year-old Felix Melendez in connection to at least some of the overdoses in the park.

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. One person had to be transported three times over the course of the day, he said.

No one has died, but two individuals are considered to be in serious, life-threatening condition.

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On average, two people die of a drug overdose every day in CT. "This is a problem that's not going away", New Haven Fire Chief John Alston Jr. said, according to WVIT. The danger lies in the drug's unpredictability and its tendency to be cut with potent opioids or in some cases an anticoagulant used in rat poison.

Emergency responders treated most of the victims with naloxone, which reverses the effects of the drug. No deaths have been reported. The problem is widespread and considered by the Department of Health and Human Services a national public health emergency.

"Do not come down to the Green and purchase this K2", Police Chief Anthony Campbell said. "People who smoked it or ingested it tended to go down very fast, nearly right in their tracks".

"The substance behind these overdoses is highly unsafe and must be avoided", Malloy said, adding that state public health officials had delivered 50 doses of Naloxone to New Haven to replenish the supply expended by first responders over the course of the 24-hour crisis. Officials responded to 19 additional reports of overdoses on Thursday, bringing the total to 95 cases, according to Rick Fontana, New Haven Emergency Operations Director. "We've heard some reports of people smoking things", he said, "but it's impossible to say with certainty if all victims received the same substance".

An ambulance crew responds to one of three simultaneous drug overdose victims on the New Haven Green, a city park in New Haven, Conn., Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

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