Forty-six people overdosed Wednesday at or near a CT park from a suspected bad batch of "K2" synthetic marijuana, requiring paramedics to be stationed there to provide treatment, authorities said.
Police said late Wednesday that they arrested one man on an unrelated warrant and viewed him as a "person of interest" in connection with the drugs the victims were using.
"Two individuals had life-threatening symptoms, and the others had non-life-threatening symptoms", he said.
Officials said 76 people overdosed Wednesday and 17 more fell ill Thursday.
At first, the drug Nalaxone - used to treat narcotic overdoses - appeared not to work.
"We literally had people running around the Green providing treatment", New Haven's emergency operations director, Rick Fontana, said, according to the TV station. Three more overdoses were reported at the Green Tuesday night, but officials could not confirm whether they were related.
Drug Enforcement Administration test results confirmed that samples of the drug were unadulterated K2, according to Laurence Grotheer, spoksperson for New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.
CT police have made an arrest in connection with more than three dozen overdose cases at a New Haven park. "That caused us to respond with a multi-casualty incident", New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said.
"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, an EMT for the New Haven Fire Department, told the New Haven Register.
The Green is located in downtown New Haven and reportedly attracts homeless people and drug users throughout the year. Lower doses administered at the scene had been ineffective.
"It is very hard to predict what the response is", Douglas says.
The victims suffering from symptoms ranging from nausea, hallucinations, and high blood pressure to shallow breathing, semi-conscious, and unconscious conditions.
The DEA has also been called in to assist in the investigation.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state departments of Public Health and Mental Health and Addiction Services were helping New Haven officials.