K2 is to blame for the mass overdose in New Haven.
Starting on Tuesday night, more than 70 people suffered a drug overdose in a 24-hour period in New Haven, Connecticut—most of them a stone’s throw from Yale University.
According to CBS News, the Drug Enforcement Administration has confirmed that the cause of the mass overdose was, indeed, K2—the synthetic drug that’s been the suspect behind similar mass drug poisonings from Washington, D.C. to Skid Row.
Most of the poisonings happened on New Haven Green, a park not far from Yale University. At least two people experienced “life-threatening symptoms,” but no deaths were reported. Three people were arrested in relation to the mass overdose.
At the scene, the victims suffered “a multitude of signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, [and] semi-conscious and unconscious states,” said Rick Fontana, New Haven’s director of emergency operations.
Emergency personnel scrambled to reach all of the victims. They were “sprinting from patient to patient in the park,” with crews transporting people quickly “just to turn the cars around and get them back out,” according to Dr. Sandy Bogucki, the city’s director of emergency medical services.
On July 4, there were 14 drug overdoses in the same area of New Haven, with K2 as the reported cause.
Also in July, NBC News reported that more than 260 people were sickened by “synthetic drugs” in Washington, D.C. in a span of 10 days. Once again, K2 was the suspected cause.
This marked a significant increase from the previous July, when just 107 were hospitalized for drug poisonings in Washington, D.C.
K2 is also known as Spice and “synthetic marijuana.” However, as High Times notes, comparing the drug to cannabis is “being generous.”
The only similarity that K2 may have to cannabis, however faint, is its physical appearance. But the effects couldn’t be more different.
“In reality, the drug is a manmade chemical cocktail of various psychoactive substances,” High Times explains. “The chemical mixture is then sprayed onto dried herbs or plant material, giving the drug an appearance similar to botanical cannabis.”