More than 90 people overdosed on K2 in one Conn. park

Grant Boone
August 17, 2018

Police swarmed a CT park near Yale University and searched people's homes for drugs Thursday in an effort to prevent more overdoses from a batch of synthetic marijuana blamed for sending more than 70 people to the hospital.

The majority of people overdosed on suspected synthetic marijuana at the CT city park and another two people nearby fell ill with similar symptoms around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, officials said. No deaths were reported but two people are seriously ill, authorities said.

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.

Police Chief Anthony Campbell says officers are looking for a known drug dealer who investigators believe was the source of the synthetic marijuana.

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. "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". 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.

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.

The man arrested on Wednesday is suspected of being connected to some of the drugs that caused the overdoses, NBC News Connecticut reported.

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In New Haven, the patients transported to the hospital included people of various ages and demographics, Chief Alston said. "It is taking people out very quickly, people having respiratory failure".

During the news conference live streamed by WTNH News 8, first responders rushed to treat a nearby victim.

Emergency responders are pictured at the park on Wednesday.

A similar incident occurred on July 4, when more than a dozen people in the same park were treated for sicknesses related to synthetic marijuana, The Associated Press reported.

New Haven Green is a large park and recreation area in the city's downtown.

The DEA and the State's Attorney's office are assisting in the investigation. "The substance behind these overdoses is highly unsafe and must be avoided".

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