Heroin Deaths, Overdoses Up In NC's Biggest City

Police in North Carolina's largest city say heroin deaths have more than tripled in the last year.

The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday that Charlotte already has 33 overdoses and 10 deaths from heroin, up from eight overdoses and three deaths in 2008.

Police say they've shut down seven Charlotte drug cells since June. Seizures of heroin have quadrupled from about 1,000 grams last year to nearly 5,000 grams this year.

Officials blame an increase in heroin gangs tied to Mexican drug organizations. Police say black-tar heroin made from poppies in Mexico and transported to the United States is cheaper than other forms of the drug. They say Mexican cartels have well-run distributions networks and target teenagers.

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