Naloxone Used to Combat New Haven, Connecticut, Overdoses

AUGUST 16, 2018
Ryan Marotta, Associate Editor
The life-saving opioid antagonist Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride) is playing a key role during a mass overdose in New Haven, Connecticut, according to local sources.1,2

More than 70 individuals were treated Wednesday after overdosing on a synthetic cannabinoid called K2 that had been laced with fentanyl. The overdoses were largely contained to a portion of the New Haven Green, a local park, the Hartford Courant reported.1

First responders used naloxone on-site in an attempt to revive the patients, according to New Haven fire chief John Alston. 

Although the reversal agent generally did not appear to work on-site, higher doses administered in the emergency department proved effective, he said.2

After the first responders’ initial supply was depleted, the Connecticut State Department of Public Health delivered 50 additional doses of naloxone to New Haven and helped city officials locate higher dosages of the drug.3

Additionally, counselors were dispatched to the New Haven Green to aid homeless individuals who were affected by the crisis.1

“Today’s emergency is deeply troubling and illustrative of the very real and serious threat that illicit street drugs pose to health of individuals,” Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement.3 “The substance behind these overdoses is highly dangerous and must be avoided.”

This was not the first instance in which the city of New Haven used the reversal agent during an overdose crisis. In 2016, a series of 15 overdoses linked to a batch of fentanyl-laced heroin prompted the Connecticut State Department of Public Health to send 700 doses of naloxone to New Haven first responders.4

More recently, naloxone drew headlines when it was reportedly used to save singer Demi Lovato’s life after an apparent drug overdose.

For more information on the pharmacist’s role in using naloxone to prevent opioid overdose deaths, watch our series of Narcan training videos at

  1. Kovner J. Six more overdoses reported near New Haven green as counselors aid the homeless population affected. Hartford Courant website. August 16, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  2. Orson D. More than 70 overdoses in New Haven spark drug investigation. Connecticut Public Radio website. Updated August 16, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  3. Gov. Malloy statement on outbreak of overdose cases in New Haven [news release]. Hartford, CT: Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy; August 15, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
  4. Connecticut State Department of Health. State sending Narcan to New Haven to deal with public health emergency caused by tainted batch of heroin. Accessed August 18, 2018.