3 Dead, More Than 20 Overdose From Unidentified New Haven Drug

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New Haven authorities have declared a health emergency following three deaths and over 20 overdoses in just 24 hours from an unknown drug combination.

Public health officials say a mixture of heroin and fentanyl are being sold on New Haven’s streets, unlike anything Connecticut has ever seen before, reports the New Haven Register.

Gail D’Onofrio, director emergency medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital said it’s not just fentanyl, but something else combined to make it more dangerous. “It is causing havoc in patient’s lungs,” she said.

Fentanyl is a painkiller considered to be 50 to 100 times stronger than uncut heroin, and is one of the many abused drugs being marketed as an upper.

D’Onofrio said that several of the overdose patients had to be placed on ventilators to help them breathe, and added that it was unusual to see all of the overdose patients suffering from the same set of symptoms.

Officials saw a spike in overdose reports and declared the emergency late Thursday. New Haven police chief Dean Esserman said,

We need to save lives in New Haven. We need to save our own people’s lives.

Firemen and paramedics began responding to emergency calls Thursday morning, which continued throughout the day.

The unknown drug is reportedly so strong that patients needed multiple doses of Narcan to save them, depleting the city’s supply. Connecticut’s Department of Public Health has sent 700 doses of Narcan to New Haven.

The deaths were attributed to cardiac arrest after overdoses; two of the victims were from New Haven and one from West Haven.

Police said that some of the overdose patients thought they were buying cocaine, not heroin or any other amalgamation of drugs. Deirdre M. Daly, US Attorney for the state, said this marks a whole new in drug use, and warned cocaine users about the lethal combo-drug being sold.

Governon Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement that, “This is a very dangerous situation and one that we are taking seriously.” New Haven officials are working to determine where the drug is coming from, but have not yet turned up any suspects, according to the Hartford Courant.

Brian Boyle of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Division said that federal agents are now working with partners within Connecticut to track and shut down the source of the drug.

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