Horrified Onlookers Watch as 71 Drug Users Collapse in Connecticut Park... IN ONE DAY
Residents watched in horror as more than 70 people collapsed near a city park in Connecticut Tuesday night into Wednesday, overdosing on what authorities believe was a tainted batch of synthetic marijuana. Vomiting and hallucinating drug users dropped like flies throughout the day as emergency crews raced to the New Haven Green to save lives.
“We have a guy laid out in the alleyway, unresponsive, eyes wide open. He’s out cold,” one bystander hollered, according to the New Haven Register.
An emergency medical technician for the New Haven Fire Department told the Register that he’s never had such an abnormal day at work in the five years he's been there.
“This was a particularly odd, rare occasion where (there was) call after call for man down, obviously with symptoms of some kind of overdose, and at the time of getting that patient packaged and transported to the hospital, we’d see another immediately fall down, right there,” Lt. Ernest Jones said. “At that point, we’d go help that patient, and while helping that patient, another person went down. So it became a domino effect.”
Out of the dozens of people rushed to the hospital, only two showed life-threatening symptoms, authorities said.
Victims displayed a multitude of symptoms, including "vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states,” according to Rick Fontana, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Operations.
EMTs administered Naloxone, an antidote for narcotic overdoses, to some victims but it didn’t appear to be effective.
Fire Chief John Alston said, “People are self-medicating for several different reasons and every agency — police, fire, medical, hospitals — all are strained at this time. This is a problem that’s not going away.”
Alston said that based on the evidence at the scene, the drug was suspected to be K2, a synthetic marijuana. "We’ve heard some reports of people smoking things,” he said, "but it’s impossible to say with certainty if all victims received the same substance." K2, also known as "spice," is frequently laced with other drugs and can result in seizures, psychosis, and even death.
“Do not come down to the Green and purchase this K2,” Police Chief Anthony Campbell said. “It is taking people out very quickly, people having respiratory failure. Don’t put your life in harm.”
The Green is located in downtown New Haven and reportedly attracts homeless people and drug users throughout the year.
Police arrested 37-year-old Felix Melendez in connection to at least some of the overdoses in the park. Melendez was out on parole prior to his arrest, according to the Register.