Police work to stop overdoses after 76 fall ill in CT

Embargo Hartford New Haven Conn.**New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said a series of overdoses occurred in New Haven Green

"Even while we were trying to return people to service, they were passing victims on the ground", Fire Chief John Alston told reporters.

"Throughout the day [Wednesday] it was extremely busy, we had six or seven people at the same time, kind of put a little bit of stress, not only on emergency services personnel, EMS personnel, but throughout the entire city", said Rick Fontana, New Haven Office of Emergency Operations.

Police said they arrested a person of interest in connection with the mass overdose.

The overdoses were concentrated on the New Haven Green but because it's now dark the incident is beginning to branch out to different parts of the city, where more people are being found, police said. The agency forecast that the final... Some victims tested positive for the powerful opioid fentanyl, but it appeared most if not all the overdoses were caused only by a potent batch of "K2" synthetic marijuana, said Dr. Kathryn Hawk, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where numerous victims were treated. Fire and emergency crews responded to an area right across from City Hall.

"The substance behind these overdoses is highly risky and must be avoided", Malloy said, adding that state public health officials had delivered 50 doses of Naloxone to New Haven to replenish the supply expended by first responders over the course of the 24-hour crisis.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the substance behind the overdoses is highly risky and must be avoided.

Local and federal authorities also arrested two other men but are still investigating whether they played any roles in the overdoses. A public defender said there was no proof linking any drugs Parker may have had to the overdoses.

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Parker has been charged with intent to distribute and Melendez was taken into custody for having K2 on him.

The rise in deaths is thought to be from the increased use of opioids, and that the drugs themselves are more deadly, reports the New York Times.

The Hartford Courant said authorities had determined that patients had smoked the synthetic cannabinoid K-2 laced with fentanyl.

Victims were given several doses of naloxone, an antidoe for narcotic overdoses, both on the scene and at the hospital.

Drug overdoses are at epidemic proportions around the nation.

"One of our fears is that this isn't over", Hartman said. Other victims reported paying for the drugs.

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. "He's out cold", a bystander recounted, according to the New Haven Register.

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