Dozens Overdose In Connecticut Park On Tainted Synthetic Marijuana

Henrietta Brewer
August 18, 2018

Dozens of people have been treated in CT during the past two days after officials say they overdosed on K2, an often-laced synthetic drug.

While K2 may look like marijuana, drug experts say it is far more potent and unsafe.

Emergency crews responded to over 100 calls in one week of people needing to go to the hospital.

Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids rose sharply, while fatalities from heroin, prescription opioid pills and methadone fell, according to the C.D.C. estimates.

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.

In New Haven, the patients transported to the hospital included people of various ages and demographics, Chief Alston said.

Some of the New Haven victims tested positive for the powerful opioid fentanyl, also blamed for overdoses, but authorities believe this week's overdoses were caused exclusively by synthetic marijuana.

Police arrested two people they believe are involved - including a 53-year-old man who's been charged with possession with intent to sell.

Authorities described a chaotic scene where people were dropping to the ground unconscious, others vomiting and some becoming lethargic. Chief Mark Vendetto, New Haven Fire Department.

One of the three suspects allegedly did not charge people for the K2 and was "just handing it out", Campbell said, possibly to start a clientele. The city mounted a mass-casualty response, including fire, police, ambulances, emergency management, city health department and Yale New Haven Hospital personnel, Fontana said.

Campbell also said officers were executing search warrants Thursday in an effort to get all the bad drugs off the streets. "Let's address it that way", Alston said.

She said toxicology tests will help investigators learn more about the nature of the drug.

Kenneth Driffin, who works with addicts and the homeless in New Haven, said he is planning a public forum on K2 and hoped to convince officials to attend.

"Today's emergency is deeply troubling and illustrative of the very real and serious threat that illicit street drugs pose to health of individuals", Malloy said, according to the Hartford Courant.

The incident comes in the wake of a new report that found a record 72,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2017.

'This is happening nationwide, ' Harp said.

Doctors said some victims improved after being given the opioid overdose antidote drug naxolone, while others did not.

Almost 80 people have collapsed in or near a park in the US after suffering overdoses from a batch of synthetic marijuana. No deaths have been reported.

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