A small park near Yale University was the scene of a mass overdose according to police in New Haven, Connecticut. Police reported that at least 76 people were hospitalized as suspected overdose victims on Wednesday while another 17 were reported ill on Thursday. All the victims reported smoking synthetic marijuana, known on the streets as K2.
The product and its variants, which are packaged under the various names like Spice, or Darkness, has been a growing problem across the country. It is usually some type of dried plant product that looks similar to marijuana and is sprayed with a THC compound. There is no way to determine the exact nature of K2 or similar products because the formulation is often changed to bypass lax laws in the United States. What made the Yale park overdose so bad was the way people got obtained the K2. According to Police Chief Anthony Campbell, three people were arrested and one of the three was allegedly giving the K2 away in order to hook costumers. That plan backfired as new customers began passing out, vomiting, losing control of their bowels and were otherwise in a miserable state. Chief Campbell told the media, “New Haven is a place where we really are trying to help people. Someone … with malice in their heart took advantage of that, took advantage of this vulnerable population. But that will not stop this city from reaching its hand out to those who are in need and treating them and providing those services.”
The city responded by flooding the area with emergency workers, social workers and raids on some homes. The New York Post and other outlets are reporting the belief that everyone fell ill as a result of the same bad batch of K2 and the city believes the supplier is a local. Medical marijuana in the state has been legal since 2012, but recreational use is still a crime in Connecticut.