Morgue needs more space as opioid deaths increase

Morgue needs more space as opioid deaths increase

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Deaths from opioids nearly doubled in Mecklenburg County from 2015 to 2016 and the medical examiner said the increase means the morgue needs to add more storage spaces in coolers.

“This is the worst I've seen it in my whole career,” said Flay Lee who helps people in recovery at Hope Haven.

The problem may be even bigger than what is being reported.

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“Sometimes the family is so embarrassed or ashamed to try to talk about things,” Lee said

A man, who said he started using opiates when he was 10, has overdosed 11 times and has had paramedics revive him using Narcan.

The man, who did not want to identify himself, remembers hitting rock bottom.

“My best friend, dying, knowing I sold him the drugs, and holding his mom at his funeral,” he said. “That's when I realized I need to change this.”

He's working his way through rehab one day at a time.

“With only 60 days clean, I already have a completely different way of thinking,” he said.

Experts at Hope Haven said addicts need treatment, not incarceration, and more education is the only thing that can help stop the crisis.

Click here for information on a discussion about opioid use.

ZIP codes in Mecklenburg County that have most overdoses:

  • 28708
  • 28216
  • 28269
  • 28214
  • 28208
  • 28206
  • 28205
  • 28215
  • 28217
  • 28210
  • 28105
  • 28227