Health care group releases numbers for local heroin overdoses

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - New numbers are in from Carolina's Health Care System, and reveal an average of four heroin overdoses a month.

The study period was between 2012 and 2013. Local experts are concerned about new information regarding the drug.

For Robert Martin, the research is becoming heart breaking.

Martin who tracks overdoses for Carolina Health Care Systems sees a new trend, when it comes to heroin use.

"Up in New York you see primarily white powder heroin." Martin said. "We saw for the longest period of time no white powder heroin in the Charlotte area. Now we're seeing more of it.

White powder heroin is more pure, and Martin says he's seeing fewer cases of connected to  black tar heroin in the Charlotte area.

Those involved with drug rehab notice another change in recent years.

Flay Lee sees clients at Hope Haven in North Charlotte, and has worked in drug rehabilitation for more than 30 years across the metro area.

He remembers when Charlotte's Kenney Street was known as heroin alley, but says horse or smack is no respecter of person.

"It does not discriminate. It does not care about you're your color. How much money you make or where you live," Lee said.

That brings us back to Robert Martin's research.

He says more people are turning to the drug because other opiates may be harder to get.

Martin has learned from experience that those who show up at the Emergency Room have one thing in common.

"That first high is always the best, and they're always chasing that first high, "he said. They never get it again and that's the disappointment of the use."

Local numbers are bigger when you consider overdoses of opiates and heroin use.

According to the Martin's research the number is just over 140 in the Charlotte area during the last study period and that's for those who have survived drug overdoses in that category.

New figures are expected before the summer is over.

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