Nearly all of the overdoses occurred on the New Haven Green, a large downtown park. Officer David Hartman, a spokesman for the New Haven Police, said a "steady stream" of reported overdoses continued throughout the day.
One overdose patient was brought to the hospital, released after being treated and went back to the Green and overdosed again, Alston said. All of those overdoses were in the area of the New Haven Green, said Rick Fontana, the city's director of emergency operations.
"Bodies are literally dropping all around me from suspected drug overdoses", said Mario Boone, a TV journalist at the park. Others became nauseated and vomited, officials said. Campbell said police found 32 bags of K2, or spice, in Parker's home.
The arrests do not mean all of the toxic K2 has been located, Campbell said. "We want people to be warned that what they have could be extremely unsafe". Felix Melendez, 37, was charged with drug crimes during the investigation, but Campbell said it hadn't been determined whether he was connected to the overdoses.
All the victims had consumed the synthetic marijuana substance known as K2.
Authorities say they are unsure as to where the drugs came from, he said.
Emergency personnel were still present in New Haven Green early Wednesday evening, and planned to remain in the park throughout the night.
Here & Now's Robin Young learns more about synthetic marijuana and its effects from Dr.
Often sold by corner stores in brightly colored packages under several brand names, K2 is made of a variety of dried plants and lawn clippings sprayed with industrial chemicals.
They can be anywhere from 2 to 100 times more potent than THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, researchers have said.
Synthetic marijuana has caused similar mass hospitalizations in one localized area in the past. According to New Haven mayoral spokesperson Laurence Grotheer, some of the victims during the week were suffering from heatstroke rather than a drug overdose. In May, more than 50 people in NY overdosed on K2, none fatally.