New Haven Mayor Toni Harp gives update on K-2 overdose outbreak

One man has been arrested after more than 70 people overdosed in a CT park in just one day from a bad batch of K2 synthetic marijuana.

"We literally had people running around the Green providing treatment", New Haven's emergency operations director, Rick Fontana, said, according to the TV station.

A new report estimated a record 72,000 Americans died past year from drug overdoses, a rise of around 10 percent, the Centres for Disease Control said on Wednesday.

"Even while we were trying to return people to service, they were passing victims on the ground", Alston said. "That caused us to respond with a multi-casualty incident", New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said.

Harp said that on Wednesday, "New Haven was on the front lines of a coast-to-coast struggle to combat the public health menace of illicit distribution and use of what appear to be tainted street drugs ..." The police chief says they firmly believe the person in custody is responsible for at least some of the overdoses.

The first cases were reported near Yale University on Tuesday night, officials say.

Synthetic cannabis, often sold under names such as spice or K2, is usually made from plant material sprayed with chemicals that mimic the high from real cannabis.

'It is taking people out very quickly, people having respiratory failure.

Most of the people who overdosed Wednesday in New Haven were lower-income or homeless, Hartman told WTNH. Hawk said some people got better with the help of naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, while others didn't.

Nationally, overdose deaths reached a record level of 72,000 in 2017, according to a recent federal report.

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

Police arrested one local man believed to be connected to some of the overdoses, city officials said the statement.

The Office of Emergency Management in New Haven said it is still fielding calls and the number of victims could increase. 'Narcan was not effective here at the scene, ' said Alston.

Some individuals who were released from the hospital needed to be treated a second time for an additional apparent overdose, Fontana said.

Most of the overdoses occurred on the New Haven Green, a downtown park adjacent to Yale.

An official in the city said earlier there were a total of 25 overdoses over a three-hour span and that some overdoses were "in multiples of 4-6 at a time".

A look at the scene of multiple overdoses in the area of a CT park on Wed., Aug. 15, 2018.

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