People are saying 46 people overdosed Wednesday from a suspected bad batch of "K2" synthetic marijuana at or near a city park in CT.
Officials were testing the blood of victims to determine what exactly triggered their symptoms. No deaths have been reported, and officials said most patients have been discharged from hospitals.
Authorities believe the drug that caused the overdoses is K-2, a synthetic marijuana.
Police have arrested a man who they say may have passed out free samples of synthetic marijuana. "We've heard some reports of people smoking things", he said, "but it's impossible to say with certainty if all victims received the same substance".
"It's a nationwide problem", Alston said of drug overdoses.
"We literally had people running around the Green providing treatment", said Rick Fontana, the city's emergency operations director.
First responders scrambled all day Wednesday to handle almost 80 overdoses caused by what officials believe to be synthetic marijuana, which is commonly called K2.
"Do not come down to the Green and purchase this K2", city Police Chief Anthony Campbell said.
Naloxone, an antidote for narcotic overdoses, was administered to some victims but didn't appear to be effective.
Police arrested one local man believed to be connected to some of the overdoses, city officials said the statement.
Dr. Kathryn Hawk, an emergency physician at Yale New Haven Hospital, told the New Haven Register on Wednesday that the Drug Enforcement Administration had "confirmed the presence of fentanyl in some of the overdose cases. That caused us to respond with a multi-casualty incident", he said. Three of the people who overdosed died after taking cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl, over a dozen others were hospitalized.
Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez says his department made a push to get rid of K2, also known as spice, five years ago.
One crew of emergency responders treated nine victims within one hour, Alston told reporters.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state departments of Public Health and Mental Health and Addiction Services were helping New Haven officials.
The overdoses follow a similar outbreak at the same park on July 4, when more than a dozen people were treated.
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.
The DEA and the State's Attorney's office are assisting in the investigation.