In Brief

More Than 70 People Overdosed in a Connecticut Park

 Several dozen people fell ill from suspected drug overdoses at New Haven Green park on Aug. 15. Above, a police officer speaks to a man walking on the Green.
Several dozen people fell ill from suspected drug overdoses at New Haven Green park on Aug. 15, 2018. Above, a police officer speaks to a man walking on the green. (Image credit: Bill Sikes/AP/Shutterstock)

This article was origially published on Aug. 15 and updated on Aug. 17.

A "mass overdose" took place in a Connecticut park this week, according to news reports.

More than 70 people in New Haven, Conneticut were transported to the hospital on Wednesday (Aug. 15) after showing signs of a drug overdose, according to the Washington Post. Most of those overdoses took place at the New Haven Green park near Yale University.

Overdoses continued to occur on Thursday, bringing the total to more than 100 overdoses, according to the New Haven Register. However, that higher number includes some people who received treatment for an overdose at the hospital, but then returned to the New Haven Green and overdosed again, the New Haven Register reported.

Initially, officials suspected that the overdoses were caused by synthetic cannabinoids, also called K2 or spice, that were possibly contaminated with other drugs such as opioids. On Friday (Aug. 17), officials confirmed that synthetic cannabinoids were indeed behind the overdoses. But they weren't contaminated with other drugs. Instead, the K2 contained a chemical called fubinaca, which has been described as an ""ultrapotent" synthetic cannabinoid, according to NBC Connecticut.

Officials arrested three men in connection with the overdoses, according to the New Haven Register. 

So far, no deaths have been reported.

Those who fell ill were often found in groups of four to six, and varied in age and demographic, according to ABC News. Their symptoms included vomiting, hallucinations, high blood pressure, shallow breathing and unconsciousness, ABC News reported.

Officials described a hectic scene as emergency crews worked to respond to all of the overdose reports.

"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 on Wednesday. "At that point, we'd go help that patient, and while helping that patient, another person went down. So it became a domino effect."

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.