Police Charge Man Connected To K2 Overdoses

Leslie Hanson
August 20, 2018

City officials in New Haven are trying to get a handle on a synthetic drug epidemic during which more than 100 overdose cases spanned 36 hours.

The first overdose reports started coming in on Tuesday, mostly from within the New Haven Green park area.

Two other people were arrested, including one New Haven man who police believe was involved, though they haven't confirmed a link, Chief Anthony Campbell said.

The victims suffering from symptoms ranging from nausea, hallucinations, and high blood pressure to shallow breathing, semi-conscious, and unconscious conditions.

Campbell said some of the people who overdosed gave detectives names to investigate.

Synthetic marijuana is plant material sprayed with chemicals that has been blamed for overdoses nationwide. Local officials said it was unlike anything they had seen before.

When police tracked him down at a New Haven hotel, officers recovered more than 30 bags of K2.

While K2 may look like marijuana, drug experts say it is far more potent and risky. In May, more than 50 people in NY overdosed on K2, none fatally.

One of the other men arrested, Felix Melendez, 37, was charged with drug crimes during the investigation, but Campbell said it hadn't been determined whether he was connected to the overdoses.

"The overdose crisis on the Green is heartbreaking, and I echo the recent sentiments of Fire Chief John Alston that we must deal this situation in the context of the national drug crisis", DeLauro said.


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

"We heard from people on the green this morning that it potentially included PCP", she said at the news conference. He said state health officials delivered 50 doses of naxolone to the city to help replenish its supply.

The mass overdose came as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released provisional figures showing 70,689 people died from drug abuse past year.

Police believe all the overdoses are from K-2, also known as synthetic marijuana.

Lt. Ernest Jones, an EMT for the New Haven Fire Department, described the day to the New Haven Register as a "domino effect".

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the substance behind the overdoses is highly unsafe and must be avoided.

"Today's emergency is deeply troubling and illustrative of the very real and serious threat that illicit street drugs pose to health of individuals", the Democratic governor said in a statement. Some individuals also reportedly overdosed multiple times.

So far, no deaths have been reported.

Fasano said the Green has become "a place of despair" and 'no longer an attraction for families or economic development'.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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