Mass overdose of marijuana sees 76 ‘bodies dropping’ in park


More than 70 people have fallen ill at New Haven Green near Yale University, Connecticut, in suspected overdoses of a virulent batch of synthetic marijuana. (stock photo)
More than 70 people have fallen ill at New Haven Green near Yale University, Connecticut, in suspected overdoses of a virulent batch of synthetic marijuana. (stock photo)

More than 70 people have fallen ill in a suspected mass overdose near Yale University.

The first cases were reported on Tuesday evening when emergency services attended three suspected overdoses of a virulent batch of synthetic marijuana at New Haven Green.

Dozens more cases were reported over the next 24 hours, all close to the downtown park. Officials said on Wednesday night that the tally had reached 76, according to NBC News.

Some victims were said to be unconscious while others were vomiting, nauseated or lethargic. There had been no fatalities, but some patients were in a life-threatening condition.

“Bodies are literally dropping all around me from suspected drug overdoses,” said Mario Boone, a TV journalist at the park.

“I’ve never seen anything quite this bad happening at once.”

Dr Sandy Bogucki, the city’s director of emergency medical services, said emergency responders were “sprinting from patient to patient in the park”, the ‘New York Times’ reported.

A 37-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the cases, said NBC.

The overdoses were initially feared to stem from a batch of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, possibly laced with an opioid.

However, initial tests have so far found the substance to be pure K2 with no additives, NBC quoted officials as saying.

The US is grappling with a surging epidemic of opioid abuse, including painkillers like OxyContin and street drugs such as heroin.

A recently published report estimated a record 72,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses, a rise of around 10pc, the Centres for Disease Control said on Wednesday.

Drugs, particularly fentanyl, are now deadlier in the US than either HIV, car crashes or guns, the report said.

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 October, President Donald Trump called the opioid epidemic a “public health emergency”.

Irish Independent

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