More than 100 people were treated in the last two days for an overdose caused by a synthetic drug in Connecticut. Although none died, the event caught the attention of the US authorities. Annually, about 72,000 people die from drug abuse in the US alone.
A surreal scene occurred in New Haven Green Park, a few meters from Yale University in Connecticut. More than 100 people had to be referred to hospitals for what is, until now, the case of massive overdose in the history of the United States. The guilty drug of the episode is known as “K2” or synthetic marijuana, 100 times more potent than traditional marijuana.
The New Haven episode reflects a difficult reality that has worried US health authorities in recent years. Deaths from drug overdoses in the United States increased to almost 72,000 last year, a record high, representing a 10% increase in one year and surpassing fatalities due to traffic accidents or violence with firearms. Not even AIDS claimed so many lives in that country in 12 months.
Also known as “spice”, the K2 has become one of the most widely used synthetic drugs in the US, after a few years in which, due to its novelty, it was not persecuted and could be purchased at some gas stations and stores. The more than 100 cases reported by the authorities include people who were treated more than once, because they returned to smoke the drug after leaving the hospital.
“We discovered that this K2 had a very short effect, but also that it was a version of the drug that acted very quickly,” explained Yale New Haven hospital medical director Sandy Bogucki, in statements collected by the Hartford Courant. He said that people who smoked or ingested the substance in general fell under its effect almost immediately and many had to be resuscitated.
However, since the effects do not last long and could be released relatively soon, several returned to the park in search of a new dose. According to the Hartford Courant, the authorities have indicted two people allegedly responsible for distributing that drug game, in which traces of the fentanyl narcotic have been found, which could explain the strong effects it is having.
The drug overdose epidemic in the United States began in the early 2010s, mainly linked to the over-prescription of Oxycontin and other legal painkillers, which caused more than two million people to become addicted.
In fact, President Donald Trump declared the problem as a national public health emergency last year, allocating funds to communities that fight the addiction of its inhabitants and suffer the social impact of overdoses, such as children who are orphaned.
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