Police: 3rd person arrested in New Haven K2 overdose crisis

NEW HAVEN — New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell said a third man, believed to be a distributor of the bad batch of K2 that led to more than 100 overdoses since Tuesday night, has been arrested on a federal search warrant. 

In a morning press conference outside the steps of City Hall across from the New Haven Green that has been the site of most of these overdoses, Campbell provided an update for reporters. Campbell said the department has “a history” with the 3rd man who is charged in connection to the overdoses.

“We’ve been trying to get the word out to make sure people understand please not to use this K2, it is clearly contaminated” he said. “One of the chemicals is FUBINACA, which is really supposed to be for whatever reason knocking people down and taking them out.”

The name of the three people arrested to date have not been released.

Campbell said as of 10 a.m. that three people are in critical condition. The total of more than 100 overdoses is inclusive of some people who received treatment, then returned to the Green — still wearing their hospital bracelets, Campbell said — and overdosed again, some up to four or five times.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., also spoke about what he sees as a need to address the crisis through legislation.

“We need new tactics to address synthetics,” he said.

Blumenthal said that “amateur chemists” who are “primarily from China and Mexico” are creating synthetic marijuana and synthetic heroin.

“At the end of the day, we need more resources, meaning money,” he said. Blumenthal recommended that the federal administration “put aside the trade wars” to make a “multinational crackdown” on synthetic drugs.

Officials said there were 17 more overdoses as of Thursday evening, bringing the total to 114 by Friday morning.

The overdoses have drawn international attention, as city, state and federal officials and emergency crew grapple with ways to end the immediate health crisis, as well as to address the social, economic and other issues that are part of a national drug addiction epidemic.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said she does not yet know the cost to the city of having emergency personnel working virtually around the clock for two days yet, but “we’re going to have to find the resources to pay for it.”

She said she has been in contact with Gov. Dannel Malloy to request help from state police to cut down on local costs. Additionally, she said she has a commitment from the commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to place addiction specialists on the Green.

“We are in the infancy of treating addiction in our country,” Harp said.

Harp said the APT Foundation methadone clinic has a responsibility to screen its patients and to provide more behavioral supports. As it stands, addicts from across the state are traveling to New Haven but are not receiving holistic services they need for recovery, she said.

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