One Park, One Day, 41 Overdoses

A man has been arrested in the U.S. after more than 40 people overdosed in a CT park on a drug suspected of being laced with an opioid, police say.

Officials have arrested a 37-year-old man, Felix Melendez, in connection with the overdoses, according to the New Haven Register.

Officials blamed K2, a synthetic and marijuana-like drug that's smoked and can often be laced with risky or even lethal substances.

"He says one of the victims still had some of the drug, which has been sent off to a lab for testing".

"It's a nationwide problem", Alston said of drug overdoses.

The first cases were reported near Yale University on Tuesday night, officials say.

Late Wednesday night, the scene at the New Haven Green began to "quiet down" as people emptied out of the park, Hartman, the officer, said. Three of the people who overdosed died after taking cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl, over a dozen others were hospitalized.

CBS News reported the victims, covering a range of ages, experienced "a multitude of signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states", said Rick Fontana, director of the city's Office of Emergency Operations.

"We heard from people on the Green this morning that it could potentially be laced with PCP and some of the reactions of the patients in the emergency department would suggest it was an opioid involved as well", Bogucki said.

So far, no deaths have been reported.

WVIT reports that the man arrested "is believed connected to at least some of the overdoses" and "had drugs on him at the time of his arrest, [but] has yet to be charged in any of the overdose cases".

Authorities said most of the New Haven patients responded to high doses of Narcan given at the hospital and they were released.

"Even while we were trying to return people to service, they were passing victims on the ground", Fire Chief John Alston told reporters. "Let's address it that way", Alston said.

Fontana said 72 people were brought to hospitals and four refused to be treated or transported to hospitals.

"People are self-medicating for several different reasons and every agency - police, fire, medical, hospitals - all are strained at this time".

A similar mass overdose occurred on New Haven Green just one month ago, on July 4, when more than a dozen people fell sick from synthetic marijuana.

Today New Haven was on the front lines of a coast-to-coast struggle to combat the public health menace of illicit distribution and use of what appear to be tainted street drugs.

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