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New form of heroin hits Charlotte streets

By Glenn Counts
NBC Charlotte

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers are seeing a new type of heroin on the streets.

The market has been dominated by black tar heroin, but around six months ago white powder heroin began to show up in south Charlotte.

“What heroin addicts tell me is it’s a much smoother high than black tar heroin, but black tar is more potent,” said Robert Martin, the director of Substance Abuse Services for Mercy Horizons.

Last month, vice officers made a major white heroin bust at an east Charlotte apartment complex, seizing more than $150,000 worth of white and black tar.

Black tar has a sticky consistency and is usually injected. White powder can be injected, but it is easier to snort or smoke.

Martin says they began treating their first white heroin patients about six months ago.

“She said it didn’t feel like heroin. She thought it felt stronger,” he said about one of his clients.

Because it can be smoked or snorted, it might be more appealing to some teens.

“So if someone is trying it and you don’t have to inject it, that might appeal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will. It’s more of who else is doing it,” said LaKeisha McCormick, the director for Prevention Services.

Police say it’s too early to tell if white powder is here to stay. Typically it can be found in major northern cities like Baltimore and New York, places where experts say Black Tar never found much of a home.

Treatment professionals say both types of heroin are just as addictive and the new brand could carry additional risks.

“With any new product, the difference between dealer A and dealer B product could be an overdose,” said Martin.

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