Black Tar Heroin has strong Memphis connection

It's made in Mexico, but Black Tar Heroin has a strong Memphis connection.

Methadone Clinic owner Dr. Steven E. Ritchie says, "We are seeing so many patients both here and at our facility in Nashville that are addicted to black tar heroin that we had not seen over the last 20 years until the last few years."

Dr. Steven Ritchie says his client count is UP since the feds busted an aggressive black tar heroin sales network in Memphis and 14 other cities last month.

DEA associate special agent Frank Seib says, " When you seize 50-pounds of  heroin you look at that as billions of dosage units. Or injection units.  You're taking billions of injections off the street."

Many of those addicts now come here and pay for daily doses of methadone to satisfy their craving.

Methadone counselor Andrew Johnson says, "...Opiate addiction is very large in our community with the coming in now of Mexican tar heroin. It's tearing up our community."

Heroin dealers are often involved in violent crime and gang activity.

On top of the federal bust last month, Memphis police made at least 8 heroin arrests since June...a small portion of the more than 700 felony drug arrests over the past three months.

Ritchie continues, "They are very manipulative. They have learned to survive by taking advantage of other people: lying, stealing: surviving any way they can to get the money they need for their drug."

Ritchie says methadone is part of the answer to turning hard core addicts' lives around.