Drug responsible for 95 overdoses in New Haven is easily accessible, and at times, legal

Connecticut

Mass hysteria in New Haven this week, after 76 overdoses were reported in a roughly 24-hour period.

New Haven Police said 18 people collapsed on the New Haven Green in a span of 3 and a half hours Wednesday morning, a number that quickly rose to 95 by Thursday afternoon.

The victims had taken a drug called K2, or spice, a form of synthetic marijuana that police believe, may have been laced with opioids. 

According to the CDC, there are multiple versions of synthetic marijuana. It’s made up of various synthetic cannabinoid chemicals, that are easily tweaked. 

Dr. Gerald Beltran is the Chief of Disaster Medicine at Baystate Medical Center. He told 22News synthetic marijuana impacts the brain in unpredictable ways. “Agitation, coma, seizure and kidney failure. Your breathing can be affected, heart rate can be affected.”

Just last month the FDA issued a warning, after synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison killed several people in at least 9 states. 

Beltran also said since the drug is easily tweaked, certain forms of it can be legally purchased online, where it may be listed as a natural herbal product. “The synthetics here are often legal, and when the regulatory body finally says we’re making this illegal, they’ll change one of the carbons again, and so the cycle goes on and on.”

New Haven police have arrested several suspects in connection with the overdoses.

In the meantime, Hamden has issued a public health advisory, while police try to figure out exactly what they’re dealing with.

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