Experts explain dangers of synthetic drug K2

A man prepares to smoke K2 or

Although there were no deaths, two individuals were considered to be in serious, life-threatening condition.

Some people who overdosed returned to the green and overdosed again, officials said.

Parker, who was arrested Wednesday, was charged with drug crimes after being found in possession of the K2 bags, Campbell said.

Nearly all of the overdoses occurred on the New Haven Green, a large downtown park.

As paramedics struggled to deal with the wave of overdoses, transporting dozens to Yale-New Haven and other local hospitals, law enforcement officials scrambled to identify what drug was causing people to collapse and to find the supplier. Campbell said there were no calls so far Friday. "It's a nationwide problem that people are self-medicating for several different reasons, and every agency - police, fire, medical hospitals - all are strained at this time". All of those overdoses were in the area of the New Haven Green, said Rick Fontana, the city's director of emergency operations. He said he hoped releasing the names and photos of the suspects as well as pictures of the K2 would prevent other people from overdosing.


Campbell said agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration are assisting New Haven authorities and had taken a sample of the K2 to a NY laboratory for testing. "We want people to be warned that what they have could be extremely risky". He said the victims did respond to higher levels of the antidote drug once they got to local hospitals, which led investigators to "deduce that it was laced with something, some opioid compound, possibly fentanyl".

Synthetic cannabinoids like K2 are human-made chemicals that can be either sprayed on dried plants and smoked or sold as liquids to be inhaled in e-cigarettes or other devices.

They can be anywhere from 2 to 100 times more potent than THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, researchers have said.

New Haven is in southern CT, about 80 miles from NY. That wide range is due to the fact that the drugs used change from batch to batch.

Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids rose sharply, while fatalities from heroin, prescription opioid pills and methadone fell, according to the C.D.C. estimates. In May, more than 50 people in NY overdosed on K2, none fatally.

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