More than 30 people overdose at downtown CT park; synthetic pot suspected

CNN VAN

New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said it all started Tuesday night with three reported overdoses.

Rick Fontana, director of emergency operations for New Haven said some overdoses were 'in multiples of 4-6 at a time'.

Dr Kathryn Hawk, an Emergency Department physician at Yale New Have Hospital, said the drug was laced with fentanyl, but police have yet to confirm the drug. The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses. Their identities have not yet been released.

"We hope this is coming to an end, but it's too early to tell".

Emergency crews showed up and found some people passed out and unresponsive, while others were complaining of nausea or were vomiting.

The patients included people of various ages and demographics, Alston said.

She said toxicology tests will help investigators learn more about the nature of the drug. He said it could have been laced with something.

At first, the drug Nalaxone - used to treat narcotic overdoses - appeared not to work. Two people had life-threatening symptoms, he added. Some people were unconscious, others were semi-conscious.

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This is an ongoing investigation.

New Haven has been plagued by overdoses this year.

On July 4, 14 people became ill from synthetic marijuana, and in January, four people were sickened by a similar drug, and two victims nearly died.

Cruz said she knows what it's like to be an addict. She's now a certified recovery coach with New Haven's Cornell Scott Hill Health Center. More than 70 people fell ill from suspected drug overdoses on the green and were taken to local hospitals.

Officials said Wednesday's response was a tremendous drain on the fire department. The substance behind these overdoses is highly unsafe and must be avoided.

According to Fontana, the Sponsor Hospital Medical Director is coordinating with hospital and health department staff to coordinate efforts. "I have spoken with Mayor Harp and assured her that the state remains committed and ready to assist their response efforts wherever needed".

"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. Lower doses administered at the scene had been ineffective.

Officials were testing the blood of victims to determine what exactly triggered their symptoms.

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