Monday, 22 April, 2019

More than 20 ill; K2 synthetic marijuana consumption likely, officials say

A police officer speaks to a man walking on New Haven Green Bill Sikes Associated Press A police officer speaks to a man walking on New Haven Green
Celia Hoffman | 16 August, 2018, 11:31

Alston said it's unclear what was the cause of the overdoses, but officials suspect it may have been synthetic cannabinoids, known as K2, that were likely laced with other substances. Other reports said it was 76 people.

In about 12 hours Wednesday, more than 30 people - most of whom had been on the New Haven green - were treated for overdoses of a drug known as "K2" laced a with a synthetic opioid, police said.

Police said they arrested a man believed to be connected to at least some of the overdoses. The city mounted a mass-casualty response, including fire, police, ambulances, emergency management, city health department and Yale-New Haven Hospital personnel, said Rick Fontana, emergency management director.

There have been no fatalities reported over the incident, but some of the individuals are in critical condition, officials say.

"Even while we were trying to return people to service, they were passing victims on the ground", Alston told reporters. She also asked that the city be given larger supplies of the opioid antidote Narcan from the state Department of Public Health, said city spokesman Laurence Grotheer.

The victims appeared to be suffering from a "multiple of signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states, Fontana said".

"We hope this is coming to an end, but it's too early to tell". "Emergency responders rushed to one victim as officials were giving a news conference nearby late Wednesday morning".

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According to police, one patient was non-responsive to Naloxone, which is a drug used to treat narcotic overdoses.

They called the investigation ongoing.

The city also saw more than a dozen synthetic marijuana overdoses in late January.

71 people suffering from apparent overdoses were transported to local hospitals from the New Haven Green, according Dave Hartman with New Haven Police. "I'm extremely grateful for the timely and effective work of first responders who helped revive, transport, and save these victims". The additives boost the high, but can create a unsafe, sometimes deadly cocktail.

"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 Courant.

Fire Chief John Alston Jr. said Wednesday morning that victims apparently consumed K2 synthetic marijuana, but investigators will await toxicology test results to confirm that.

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