At Least Two Dozen People Overdosed in a Connecticut Park Today

Yale University

Numerous overdoses occurred on or near the New Haven Green, a large downtown park, and could be linked to "K2" synthetic marijuana that was laced with another drug, New Haven Fire Chief John Alston told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

Most of the overdoses were on the New Haven Green, a historic downtown park near Yale University. Three more overdoses were reported at the Green Tuesday night, but officials could not confirm whether they were related.

The exact cause of the overdoses has not been confirmed, but officials suspect that synthetic cannabinoids, also called K2 or spice, are the culprit.

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.

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.

A police officer speaks to a man walking on New Haven Green, on Wednesday, in New Haven, Conn.

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. Although there have been no deaths, at least two people suffered life-threatening symptoms, according to authorities. They were transported to area hospitals including Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael.

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Alston said some people were unconscious and in respiratory distress, and others were vomiting.

At least 76 people overdosed on K2 in a New Haven city park over a 24-hour period.

One crew of emergency responders treated nine victims within one hour, Alston told reporters. The names of the suspects haven't been released.

"We've heard from people on the green that it potentially included PCP". "We're eager to raise awareness at the highest levels of the federal government for a better sense of what happened and the challenges that urban centers face in terms of combatting a persistent, vexing presence of people with substance abuse disorder".

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".

New Haven first responders were called to a similar overdose outbreak on the Green on July 4, when more than a dozen people became sick from synthetic marijuana. I'm also grateful to the state Department of Public Health for its quick response to our request for additional doses of Narcan, the antidote administered to several of those afflicted.

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