In the American Park found the 76 victims of overdose drug

Leslie Hanson
August 18, 2018

A city park in the shadow of Yale's Old Campus became the scene of a mass overdose on Wednesday as ambulance crews rushed from person to person, desperately administering antidotes to dozens of semiconscious and disoriented drug users.

No overdoses were reported on Friday.

The first cases were reported on Tuesday evening when emergency services attended three suspected overdoses of a virulent batch of synthetic marijuana at New Haven Green.

Rick Fontana, the New Haven director of emergency operations, said the drug appeared to be a bad batch of K2 laced with an opioid.

Some victims were said to be unconscious while others were vomiting, nauseated or lethargic. Both were in possession of K2, police said, and were charged with drug possession.

"The evidence photos do not mean that we have seized all of the contaminated K2 that was out there", he said.

Synthetic marijuana, called "spice" and other names, usually is plant material sprayed with chemicals or other substances that is sold in small, colorful packets.

Authorities say they are unsure as to where the drugs came from, he said.

"We want people to be warned that what they have could be extremely unsafe and they should not use it", he said.

New Haven is in southern CT, about 80 miles from NY. Just over a month ago, on July 4, another batch of synthetic marijuana caused 14 overdoses, a lot of them on New Haven Green, the police said. According to New Haven mayoral spokesperson Laurence Grotheer, some of the victims during the week were suffering from heatstroke rather than a drug overdose.

They can be anywhere from 2 to 100 times more potent than THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, researchers have said. "It's a nationwide problem that people are self-medicating for several different reasons, and every agency - police, fire, medical hospitals - all are strained at this time". In May, for example, 25 people were hospitalized in one area of Brooklyn, New York, after having negative reactions to what was believed to be K2, police said.

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