As many as 76 people overdosed near Yale University on Tuesday night, and police have arrested three men connected to the incident. Rick Fontana, New Haven’s director of emergency operations, said all of the overdoses were in the area of the New Haven Green, according to CBS News.
New Haven Fire Chief John Alston added that the overdoses could be linked to “K2” synthetic marijuana laced with another drug. Emergency Medical Services Medical Director Dr. Sandy Bogucki echoed, “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,” as USA Today reported. Bogucki also stated that it wasn’t clear whether all the victims had used the same drug.
Alston said that Wednesday morning at roughly 8 a.m., calls were made to emergency crews reporting people vomiting and passing out. He recalled that after the sixth response, “we knew that now we were going to have a multi-casualty incident. Even while we were trying to return people to service, they were passing victims on the ground.”
No deaths were reported, but two individuals were reported in serious, life-threatening condition.
CBS News reported that by Thursday, toxicology testing had not yielded definitive results. Dr. Kathryn Hawk, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Yale-New Haven Hospital, said some victims tested positive for fentanyl, but the common factor in virtually every case was “K2″ synthetic marijuana.
On July 4, more than a dozen people became ill at the New Haven Green from synthetic marijuana. In January, another dozen synthetic marijuana overdoses were reported there.