Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
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Nearly 80 overdose on synthetic pot in park near Yale

A man has been arrested in the United States after more than 40 people overdosed in a CT park on a drug suspected of being laced with an opioid, police say.

He said there were a dozen overdoses in 40 minutes on the green on Wednesday morning.

"Even while we were trying to return people to service, they were passing victims on the ground", Alston said.

Lt. Ernest Jones, an emergency medical technician for the New Haven Fire Department, told the Register he's had his job for five years, and never had such an abnormal day at work.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 29 people had overdosed across New Haven, city spokesperson Laurence Grotheer told TIME.

The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses.

"Throughout the day [Wednesday] it was extremely busy, we had six or seven people at the same time, kind of put a little bit of stress, not only on emergency services personnel, EMS personnel, but throughout the entire city", said Rick Fontana, New Haven Office of Emergency Operations. Patients were taken to the Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael. By late Wednesday night there had been no deaths reported.

The man arrested on Wednesday is suspected of being connected to some of the drugs that caused the overdoses, NBC News Connecticut reported.

"Do not come down to the Green and purchase this K2", New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell warned, according to WABC-TV.

The DEA has also been called in to assist in the investigation. 'Narcan was not effective here at the scene, ' said Alston.

A similar mass overdose occurred on New Haven Green just one month ago, on July 4, when more than a dozen people fell sick from synthetic marijuana.

"We heard from people on the green this morning that it potentially included PCP". "It is taking people out very quickly, people having respiratory failure". "We're eager to raise awareness at the highest levels of the federal government for a better sense of what happened and the challenges that urban centers face in terms of combatting a persistent, vexing presence of people with substance abuse disorder".

Emergency responders treated most of the victims with naloxone, which reverses the effects of the drug.

On average, two people die of a drug overdose every day in CT. It said major causes of the increase in deaths was due to the growing number of people using opioids and that the drugs themselves were becoming more potent.

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