As many as 30 people in New Haven, Connecticut, have been treated for possible drug overdoses since last night, authorities said Wednesday afternoon.
According to Fox News and WTNH News 8, the number of overdoses had risen to 47 by Wednesday evening.
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.
Police arrested one local man believed to be connected to some of the overdoses, city officials said the statement.
Many of the overdoses occurred on or near the New Haven Green, a large downtown park, and could be linked to “K2” synthetic marijuana that was laced with another drug, New Haven Fire Chief John Alston told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.
“We heard from people on the green this morning that it potentially included PCP. Some of the reactions of the patients in the emergency department would suggest that there was an opioid involved as well,” Emergency Medical Services Medical Director Dr. Sandy Bogucki told reporters.
Bogucki said authorities aren’t sure if all patients used the same drug. New Haven issued a public health alert Wednesday, WTNH News 8 reported.
Emergency crews began responding around 8 a.m. to multiple calls reporting patients vomiting and passing out, Alston said. After the sixth response, “we knew that now we were going to have a multi-casualty incident,” he added.
“Even while we were trying to return people to service, they were passing victims on the ground,” Alston said.
During the news conference live streamed by WTNH News 8, first responders rushed to treat a nearby victim.
Ambulance “crews were having to run and then resuscitate, and they were having to transport faster than they might normally just to turn the cars around and get them back out,” Bogucki said.
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.
“It’s a nation-wide problem. Let’s address it that way,” Alston said. “Every agency — police, fire, medical, hospitals — all are strained at this time. This is a problem that’s not going away.”
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