Nearly 140 people have died from drug overdoses so far this year, a 20% increase from last year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police reported Monday.
The department has responded to more than 1,000 overdose calls for service, police said.
Police say fentanyl is a leading cause of overdoses calls and deaths.
“Fentanyl will kill you where you stand. All it takes is two milligrams, an amount that can fit on the tip of a pencil,” Captain Fischbach said.
In 2020, the overdose death rate among non-Hispanic Black residents of Mecklenburg was 16.6 per 100,000 residents, or a total of 292 overdose deaths among Black residents, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Approximately 60% of overdoses are people under the age of 40 years, and teens account for an alarming rate, police said.
The department attributes the rise in overdoses to the fentanyl being found in cocaine, marijuana and pills.
Approximately 29.6 kilograms of fentanyl was seized by the department. More than 84,013 suspected fentanyl pills were seized this year.“
“This stuff is incredibly dangerous and can be hiding in anything,” Fischbach said.
In the upcoming year, more than $224 million is expected to be distributed to local police departments to support additional hiring of officers, technical assistance to drug investigations and identifying and developing practices to interrupt drug trafficking, according to Dena J. King, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, call the national hotline at 1-800-662-4357.