by: Allison Latos Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Heroin use in south Charlotte is skyrocketing.
Channel 9 has tracked this dangerous and deadly drug for years and obtained new numbers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department South Division showing heroin arrests and overdoses in south Charlotte soared in 2013, both up more than 30 percent.
Most users questioned told police they first tried heroin between 16 and 18 years old and the top three high schools they attended are Ardrey Kell, South Mecklenburg and Providence.
"I literally was talking to a parent last weekend about this and she does have children at Ardrey Kell," said Caroline, a mother.
"I've seen that firsthand with our patients," said Robert Martin, director of Carolinas HealthCare Substance Abuse Services. "The average person thinks that drugs are tied to crime and crime is tied to being poor. It's not. You need a lot of money to buy heroin."
Users told police they spend between $300-500 a week on heroin.
"They know that we do have money in this area," said Caroline. "A lot of the drug dealers a lot of the drug dealers are targeting kids."
Access to heroin in South Charlotte is so easy, most users told police they can get their hands on it in just half an hour.
According to the CMPD report, most heroin users start smoking it but turn to needles to get high.
"Almost all of the heroin patients we see are injecting by the time they come to detox. They've crossed that line," said Martin.
That's a reality that's really shaking South Charlotte parents trying to protect their kids.
"Why aren't our principals and things talking about it and discussing it?" asked Caroline. "It's a big concern among parents, especially myself having young children right now."
Channel 9 contacted Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The district provided an outline of the substance abuse programs.