New Haven police make arrest after dozens of overdoses

In about 12 hours Wednesday, more than 30 people - most of whom had been on the New Haven green - were treated for overdoses of a drug known as "K2" laced a with a synthetic opioid, police said.

The majority of people overdosed on suspected synthetic marijuana at the CT city park and another two people nearby fell ill with similar symptoms around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, officials said. An additional three people overdosed at the park Tuesday night (Aug. 14). Dr. Kathryn Hawk, an Emergency Department physician at Yale New Haven Hospital, told the New Haven Register that the Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed the drugs contained K2 mixed with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that's roughly 50 times more potent than heroin.

Officials were testing the blood of victims to determine what exactly triggered their symptoms. The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses.

No fatalities have been reported, but at least one patient was "very sick" earlier, Rick Fontana, the city's director of the Office of Emergency Operations, said in a statement. Three of the people who overdosed died after taking cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl, over a dozen others were hospitalized.

Emergency crews showed up and found some people passed out and unresponsive, while others were complaining of nausea or were vomiting.

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.

Police reportedly made one arrest Wednesday, though the charges were not clear.

In some cases, patients improved after receiving high doses of the drug naloxone that reverses opioid overdoses, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"We have far fewer sleeping on the Green but the drug use is bad", he said.

The Green, which attracts homeless people and drug users throughout the year, as The New York Post reported, is located in downtown New Haven to the south and west of the Ivy League Yale University. "Let's address it that way", Alston said.

A total of 71 people were rushed to various hospitals suffering from apparent overdoses. "Every agency - police, fire, medical, hospitals - all are strained at this time. This is a problem that's not going away", New Haven Fire Chief John Alston Jr. said, according to WVIT.

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.

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