Drug dealer arrested as dozens overdose in CT park

Grant Boone
August 16, 2018

Hour after hour, people kept dropping. Some became unconscious and others vomited, authorities said.

A man has been arrested in the USA after more than 40 people overdosed in a CT park on a drug suspected of being laced with an opioid, police say.

Officials say most of the overdoses happened on the New Haven Green throughout the day Wednesday. Another five people refused medical treatment. No deaths were reported in either outbreak.

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

The city mounted a mass-casualty response, including fire, police, ambulances, emergency management, city health department and Yale-New Haven Hospital personnel, said Rick Fontana, emergency management director.

New Haven first responders were called to a similar overdose outbreak on the Green on 4 July, when more than a dozen people were sick from synthetic cannabis.

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Some patients treated at the Green did not initially respond to Naloxone, and needed a higher concentration of the overdose reversal drug once they arrived at hospitals, Bogucki said. The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses.

Police did not immediately release the name of the man who was arrested, saying they were waiting for victims to positively identify him.

Federal officials last month issued a warning about the spread of synthetic marijuana across the country. It said major causes of the increase in deaths was due to the growing number of people using opioids and that the drugs themselves were becoming more potent. Several people have died because of complications.

The DEA is helping to investigate how at least 76 people overdosed in New Haven, Connecticut in the past 24 hours. The demographics led officials to believe "somebody was giving these drugs out". As Fontana was talking to reporters late in the morning, the fire radio crackled with reports of two more people down on the green, and police, medics and firefighters ran or drove to aid the latest victims a few hundred yards away.

Officials were testing the blood of the victims to see exactly what they ingested. The New Haven green is a meetingplace for the homeless population in the city.

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