Synthetic marijuana causes spike in CT overdoses

Pearl Mccarthy
August 18, 2018

Seventy-six people overdosed on synthetic marijuana, called K2, in a park across from Yale University in New Haven, Conn. on Wednesday, authorities said. "Don't put your life in harm".

The state Senate Republican leader, Len Fasano, of North Haven, criticized New Haven officials on Thursday for not addressing drug use on the Green - a claim the mayor disputed.

The Green is located in downtown New Haven and reportedly attracts homeless people and drug users throughout the year.

All of those overdoses were in the area of the New Haven Green, said Rick Fontana, the city's director of emergency operations.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, K2 or other synthetic cannabinoids alone can be deadly even without additives. 'Narcan was not effective here at the scene, ' said Alston.

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. Chief Campbell also said during the press conference that they did not arrest victims because they did not find drugs on them.

Officer David Hartman was quoted by the newspaper as saying the patients were being treated for overdose-related respiratory illnesses.

A suspect is in custody after over 40 individuals overdosed in a CT park on a drug suspected of being laced with an opioid, police say.

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"We've discovered that the K2 involved was very short acting but also rapid acting version of the drug", said Dr.

Officials blamed K2 and said it can often be laced with unsafe or even lethal substances.

The slew of overdoses comes as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a preliminary report on Wednesday on the record number of American drug deaths.

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

The AP notes, "New Haven first responders were called to a similar overdose outbreak on the Green on July 4, when more than a dozen people were sick from synthetic marijuana".

"Bodies are literally dropping all around me from suspected drug overdoses", said Mario Boone, a journalist who was at the park, via Twitter.

"Today, we're joining together to send a strong warning to anyone who may use synthetic marijuana products that these products can be especially unsafe as a result of the seemingly deliberate use of brodifacoum in these illegal products", the officials said.

Chief Anthony Campbell told the media Friday that the surge of synthetic marijuana overdoses, which gripped the city for more than 24 hours, seem to have calmed down.

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