Tainted drugs on the streets of New Haven

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Two people have died, and more than a dozen people have been sickened by tainted drugs in the city of New Haven.

Late Friday morning, several city officials responded with a news conference to update and warn the public about the city’s drug crisis. Police said victims they’ve interviewed thought they were buying cocaine, but police aren’t sure exactly what they got.Original Story: New Haven City officials issue emergency public health warning

New Haven police, emergency management personnel, as well as doctors from Yale-New Haven Hospital spoke about what they’re calling a ‘public health emergency‘.  As of Friday afternoon, the tainted drugs have killed at least 2 people, and police believe there might be a third.

More than 20 people have been poisoned. Emergency responders now have extra supplies of the opiate antidote Narcan, but the heroin is so strong it’s taking three or four doses of Narcan to stop the effects of the tainted drug.

Some of the officials believe it may be Fentanyl, which is 100 times more potent than heroin, but they don’t know yet. If it is Fentanyl, city officials think there may be something mixed with it. They’re testing the drugs to find out.Web Extra: Connecticut Accidental Drug Intoxication Deaths 2012-Present

New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman expressed how urgent the public needs to be aware of New Haven’s drug crisis.

Hopefully the educational process and the addiction services can curb this. But it could take the life of someone, destroy their family just because somebody’s trying to have a good day.”

The calls for help came from different areas of the city, and now police are still trying to figure out where the poisoned or tainted drugs came from.

Police say five of the overdoses happened near Bowen Field in New Haven. Chief Esserman says he was there as emergency personnel administered a drug called NARCAN that reverses the effects of opioids.

“I watched police officers and fire fighters bring people back to life with NARCAN,” said Esserman. “It was extraordinary.”

Sheila Gatison of New Haven tells News 8 she also was the area of Bowen Field at the time of the overdoses and brought several more victims inside a vehicle to the attention of police when they were already on scene helping other people who showed signs of intoxication.

“I knocked on the window and they (the victims) were unresponsive so I banged on the door,” said Gatison. “They weren’t responsive so I ran over and got some officers and they ran over and they revived them.”

In a news release issued by Officer David Hartman, New Haven police are assuring the public that they are aggressively pursuing all leads.

It is evident there is a batch or batches of tainted or poisoned heroin and/ or cocaine that recently hit New Haven’s streets. The New Haven Police Department is rigorously investigating the source of the illegal drug. Nothing pinpointing that source or sources has yet been determined.

Heroin and/ or cocaine users be warned! The investigation is inconclusive at this time. Any such drug should be considered deadly. There is also no reason to suspect there are any boundaries to how far the tainted drugs have been sold or distributed. Neighboring communities are warned as well.

Web Extra: Dr. Gail D’Onofrio from Yale-New Haven Hospital speaks to News 8 about the city’s response to the deaths and overdoses due to tainted drugs.

If you have any information that could help police in their investigation, you’re asked to call the anonymous tip line at 203-946-6098.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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