Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

New Haven police make arrest after dozens of overdoses

There were so many overdoses - people passed out, vomiting, convulsing - that emergency workers could hardly sprint fast enough to keep up.

At least 24 people showed signs of a drug overdose at the New Haven Green park today, with most reports coming between 8 and 11 a.m. EDT, according to the New Haven Register.

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.

Nationally, overdose deaths reached a record level of 72,000 in 2017, according to a recent federal report. New Haven police said one person is in custody. Another five people refused medical treatment. "Some of the reactions of the patients in the emergency department would suggest that there's an opioid involved as well".

"We have far fewer sleeping on the Green but the drug use is awful", he said.

"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.

Police did not immediately release the name of the man who was arrested, saying they were waiting for victims to positively identify him. Several people have died because of complications. 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. Sandy Bogucki told reporters Wednesday. More than 70 people fell ill from suspected drug overdoses on the green and were taken to local hospitals.

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The fire chief says the department responds to overdose calls daily, but they've never seen so many within such a short span of time. "Narcan was not effective here at the scene", said Alston.

Drugs, particularly fentanyl, are now deadlier in the U.S. than either HIV, auto crashes or guns, the report said.

"Do not come down to the Green and purchase this K2", city Police Chief Anthony Campbell said.

'It is taking people out very quickly, people having respiratory failure.

The man arrested on Wednesday is suspected of being connected to some of the drugs that caused the overdoses, NBC News Connecticut reported. Emergency responders rushed to one victim as officials were giving a news conference nearby late Wednesday morning. "We're pretty beat up". "At that point, we'd go help that patient, and while helping that patient, another person went down".

Harp said that on Wednesday, "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 ..."

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