Suspect in synthetic pot overdoses ID'd

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

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

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 say he had 32 bags of the drug K2 in his home. New Haven police said one person is in custody.

Three people were treated since midnight, according to New Haven Emergency Operations Director Rick Fontana, while a WVIT-TV crew saw emergency teams treating two people on New Haven Green on Thursday morning, including one person taken away on a stretcher.

The CDC reported that between 2015 and 2016, the rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl had doubled.

It has been blamed for other mass overdoses across the country.

"Only a few required admittance to the hospital, and most were discharged or left before any treatment", Fontana told Ives.

A doctor at one hospital says some patients tested positive for fentanyl, but it appears most of the overdoses were caused by a potent batch of straight K2 synthetic marijuana, also known as Kush.

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

Some of the people were unconscious - others were vomiting or exhibiting other overdose symptoms.

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Get breaking news alerts and special reports. "It brought out Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven Police Department, Fire Department, AMR".

The Office of Emergency Management in New Haven said it is still fielding calls and the number of victims could increase.

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. Toxicology tests remained pending. "Narcan was not effective here at the scene", said Alston.

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.

Carol Cruz, a drug counselor at the South Central Rehabilitation Center, went to the green to see if she could help get some of the drug users into inpatient recovery - but she noted that it is hard to help K2 abusers because the drug is usually laced with other substances that may not be known. Most of those overdoses also happened at the New Haven green, the wire service said.

A similar incident occurred on July 4 when more than a dozen people in the same park were treated for sicknesses related to synthetic marijuana, The Associated Press reported.

Today New Haven was on the front lines of a coast-to-coast struggle to combat the public health menace of illicit distribution and use of what appear to be tainted street drugs ...

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