New London first responders, city officials and hospital workers are working together to combat synthetic marijuana usage after more possible overdoses were reported on Tuesday.
Another two possible K2 overdose calls in New London on Tuesday adds to the city's tally after about 14 overdoses were reported last week.
Firefighters and EMS personnel responded to the area around Bank and Hobron Streets just before 5:30 p.m for a possible K2 overdose, New London Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Curcio said.
The victim was the second person that day to be transported to the hospital for a possible synthetic marijuana overdose.
The other possible overdose call came in around 8 a.m., according to New London Police Captain Brian Wright said.
Several people in the area said some gas stations and bodegas are selling the drug under the table.
"It’s everywhere. No matter where you go. You go to the gas station, just ask them for a bag of 'Scooby Snacks,'" a woman who lives in New London, who wishes to remain anonymous, said.
She said K2 goes by other street names, including "crazy monkey, rotten monkey, sexy monkey."
"I be seeing by my own eyes people just falling asleep in the street," Jose Rivera, who lives in New London, said. "It’s dangerous because they can die."
Lawrence + Memorial Hospital EMS and Emergency Management Coordinator Ron Kersey said that his staff saw about 14 possible K2 overdoses in New London on July 21.
Jeanne Milstein, New London’s director of human services, said the city, service providers and the hospital are all working together to combat the problem. One of the main goals is to get people into treatment so they stop using, and working with law enforcement to get the drugs off the streets.
“Whatever compound it was that they put on that incense, must have been more potent than what the people are normally used to,” Groton Police Sgt. Paul Reams said about a possible reason behind the overdose spike in New London.
Reams is part of the Regional Community Enhancement Task Force, which along with Groton officers, arrested someone for K2 possession Monday.
But the police sergeant said he doesn’t see as much K2 on the streets.
"Probably because of the decimalization of marijuana," Reams said. The main problem he’s seeing is heroin and opioids.
In New London, Cathy Zall, executive director of the New London Homeless Hospitality Center, said her staff can see about 600 different people within the course of a year. They’re working with police, the city and detox facilities but knows they all can be doing more. Part of the solution is tapping into why someone developed the substance abuse issue in the first place, she said.