Published: Sat, August 18, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Overdose total hits 76 in park near Yale

Overdose total hits 76 in park near Yale

At least 71 people have overdosed from synthetic marijuana in CT with at least 52 of them at or near a CT city park, authorities said late Wednesday.

Investigators were still trying to determine what exactly sickened the victims.

Numerous cases took place at the New Haven Green, a park near the university where a similar mass overdose took place on July 4.

"Two individuals had life-threatening symptoms, and the others had non-life-threatening symptoms", he said. 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. Police say he was previously arrested for selling drugs on the green. "It's sad when you know statistically this is something that is happening to our entire nation, but when you see it first hand right where you live and where you work, it's a bad thing".

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services assisted in New Haven in the midst of the overdoses.

The names of the suspects haven't been released.

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The exact cause of the overdoses has not been confirmed, but officials suspect that synthetic cannabinoids, also called K2 or spice, are the culprit.

A recently published report estimated a record 72,000 Americans died a year ago from drug overdoses, a rise of around 10pc, the Centres for Disease Control said on Wednesday. Paramedics were stationed at the New Haven Green in CT, which borders part of Yale University. Officials said on Wednesday night that the tally had reached 76, according to NBC News. By late Wednesday night there had been no deaths reported.

A look at the scene of multiple overdoses in the area of a CT park on Wed., Aug. 15, 2018.

Officials said Wednesday's response was a tremendous drain on the fire department. Their symptoms included vomiting, hallucinations, high blood pressure, shallow breathing and unconsciousness, ABC News reported. Alston said many contend with mental health issues, making the drug abuse a medical issue in addition to a legal one.

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.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is assisting with the investigation and will send drug samples to a federal lab for analysis. Other victims reported paying for the drugs. "He's out cold", a bystander recounted, according to the New Haven Register.

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