Authorities Say 15 Overdosed In 45 Minutes At Connecticut Park

People are saying 46 people overdosed Wednesday from a suspected bad batch of "K2" synthetic marijuana at or near a city park in CT.

More than 20 people are suffering from drug overdoses Wednesday in New Haven, Conn., according to city emergency officials. All of those overdoses were in the area of the New Haven Green, said Rick Fontana, the city's director of emergency operations.

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.

Fire Department first responders were handling so many calls that they were experiencing "compassionate-care fatigue" and had to be rotated off the engine companies, said New Haven Fire Chief John Alston.

Early reports indicated that 47 people had overdosed, but The Hartford Courant reports that the number of cases had risen to 71 by about 10 p.m. Wednesday. The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses. Although there have been no deaths, at least two people suffered life-threatening symptoms, according to authorities.

Authorities have increased their presence on the New Haven Green.

Hawk said the people who tested positive may have taken other drugs laced with fentanyl in addition to the synthetic marijuana, which is plant material sprayed with drugs and chemicals. In May, for example, 25 people were hospitalized in one area of Brooklyn, New York, after having negative reactions to what was believed to be K2, police said.

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Most of the people who overdosed Wednesday in New Haven were lower-income or homeless, Hartman told WTNH.

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

Nationally, overdose deaths reached a record level of 72,000 in 2017, according to a recent federal report.

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. "Let's address it that way", Alston said. "It's a nationwide problem that people are self-medicating for several different reasons, and every agency - police, fire, medical hospitals - all are strained at this time".

Most of the overdoses occurred on the New Haven Green, a downtown park adjacent to Yale.

"Today's emergency is deeply troubling and illustrative of the very real and serious threat that illicit street drugs pose to health of individuals", the Democratic governor said in a statement.

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