Police swarmed a Connecticut park near Yale University and searched homes for drugs in an effort to prevent more overdoses from a batch of “K2” synthetic marijuana blamed for sending dozens to the hospital
Police swarmed a Connecticut park near Yale University and searched homes for drugs in an effort to prevent more overdoses from a batch of synthetic marijuana blamed for sending more than 70 people to the hospital, the Associated Press reports. Social workers and mental health professionals responded to the New Haven Green, where most of the overdoses happened Wednesday. Authorities described a chaotic scene where people were dropping to the ground unconscious, others vomiting and some becoming lethargic. Officials said 76 people overdosed Wednesday and 17 more fell ill Thursday. Officials weren’t certain whether Thursday’s overdoses involved the same batch of “K2” synthetic marijuana. No deaths were reported.
Synthetic marijuana, called “spice” and other names, usually is plant material sprayed with chemicals or other substances that is sold in small, colorful packets. It has been blamed for other mass overdoses. In May, more than 50 people in Brooklyn overdosed on K2, none fatally. Some New Haven victims tested positive for the powerful opioid fentanyl, but authorities believe this week’s overdoses were caused solely by synthetic marijuana. Police Chief Anthony Campbell said one of three people arrested in connection with the overdoses apparently gave K2 away for free in an effort to get people hooked. “New Haven is a place where we really are trying to help people,” he said. “Someone … with malice in their heart took advantage of that, took advantage of this vulnerable population.” The 16-acre Green is a focal point of downtown New Haven. It’s surrounded by parts of Yale University, shops, churches and government buildings, and serves as a hub for bus service. Mayor Toni Harp said plans were being finalized for Jim Carroll, President Trump’s nominee for drug czar, to visit New Haven on Monday.