Crime Tracker: Fighting the meth problem - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crime Tracker: Fighting the meth problem

It's made in Mexico, but Dr. Steven Ritchie, owner of a local methadone clinic, says Black Tar Heroin has a strong Memphis connection:

"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," he said.

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 in August.

"When you seize 50 pounds of heroin, you look at that as billions of dosage units or injection units," said Frank Seib, associate Special Agent with the DEA.  "You're taking billions of injections off the street."

Methadone counselor Andrew Johnson says many of those addicts now come here and pay for daily doses of methadone to satisfy their craving. 

"Opiate addiction is very large in our community," he said. 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 have made at least 8 heroin arrests since June, a small portion of the more than 700 felony drug arrests over the past three months.

"They are very manipulative," Richie said. "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."

According to Richie, methadone is part of the answer to turning hard core addicts' lives around.

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