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Charlotte Area

Drug overdose deaths are up again in Charlotte, says CMPD

A highly potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl is often mixed into other drugs sold on the street, including pills, heroin and even cocaine.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police expect a 5% uptick in drug overdose deaths this year over 2020. Lieutenant Sean Mitchell said the department has tracked 199 deaths so far this year — and overdose calls for assistance have increased dramatically. CMPD has received on average 158 overdose calls per month this year, compared to 110 two years ago.

Mitchell says counterfeit prescription pills with high levels of fentanyl in them are behind a lot of the overdose deaths.

“These are recreational drug users that are just buying illicit pills and cocaine and they’re using it as if they’d normally use it and then they’re just dying. It’s shocking,” said Mitchell.

CMPD has begun printing QR codes on the back of officers’ business cards to connect people to drug counseling and rehabilitation centers. The department is asking people to call CrimeStoppers to report those selling illegal drugs.