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New Haven, Conn., sees over 30 synthetic marijuana overdoses in one day

By Ed Adamczyk

Aug. 15 (UPI) -- More than 30 suspected overdoses of synthetic marijuana prompted a public health alert on Wednesday in New Haven, Conn.

The first overdoses were reported Tuesday evening at or near a city park known as the New Haven Green, but victims are now spread out across the city, Police Chief Anthony Campbell said in a WTNH report.

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Campbell said in a New Haven Register report that authorities have arrested Felix Melendez, 37, in connection to the suspected overdoses.

The majority of the overdose cases were discovered on Wednesday. Fire Chief John Alston Jr. said the victims apparently consumed the synthetic marijuana K2 laced with the opioid fentanyl, but added that toxicology reports have not yet confirmed it. Four people were found unconscious, while others were nauseous or lethargic, Alston added. The majority of reports of individuals with illnesses at the New Haven Green came immediately after the 8 a.m. police shift change. There were also three reports of overdoses in other parts of the city.

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"After about the sixth one, we knew we were going to have multi-casualty incident and we were also concerned about our people on the Green responding to the same types of calls within the short amount of time," he said.

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All those who overdosed were being treated in local hospitals, with no fatalities reported, said Rick Fontana, city emergency operations director.

"This was a particularly odd, rare occasion where call after call [came] 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, a New Haven Fire Department emergency medical technician, told the Register. "At that point, we'd go help that patient, and while helping that patient, another person went down. So it became a domino effect."

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