CMPD Says It's Pushing Resources Toward Black Tar Heroin Issue

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None — Thank you for participating in our survey. Are You Surprised By Charlotte's Ranking? Are you surprised that Charlotte was ranked as one of the five-worst U.S. cities for black tar heroin use? Yes. No.

After Charlotte-Mecklenburg police presented a report on black tar heroin to City Council members Monday night, Eyewitness News is taking a closer look at how CMPD is fighting the growing problem.

"We want folks to know we are pushing resources towards it," Major Glen Neimeyer said.

He said there are more officers on Charlotte streets focusing on black tar heroin than ever before.

"You're a lot more likely to get in trouble for that lately," he said.

Neimeyer said a federal grant for more than $73,000 this year is helping CMPD crack down, paying for more informants, equipment, officers and overtime.

The CMPD report said there have been 23 overdoses this year and four deaths linked to black tar heroin.

Neimeyer also said the average user is young, white and affluent, and that south Charlotte has the biggest problem.

Eyewitness News took that description to Dr. Laurie Bumgarner at McLeod Addictive Disease Center.

"Over the last eight to 10 years, I've seen an increase in the numbers that we're serving," she said, referring to both opiate addicts overall and black tar heroin users.

Bumgarner agreed that addicts are often in their 20s. But after looking at the report, she said in her experience, they are from all over the city.

"It crosses all boundaries," she said.

Bumgarner said an addict will do anything, including commit crimes, to get a fix.

She said she is glad CMPD is making it a priority.

"It's not just the addict that's affected, family members are, his friends are, all of society," she said.

Monday night, City Councilman Edwin Peacock asked CMPD for the ZIP codes of those 23 overdoses to get a better idea of where they happened in the city.

CMPD said it is still working to get that information.

Previous Stories: June 28, 2011: Charlotte No. 5 In Top US Cities For Black Tar Heroin April 20, 2011: Police Discover $100K In Black Tar Heroin In Charlotte Home July 27, 2010: 9 Investigates: Eyewitness News Takes You Inside The Black Tar Heroin Trade