Heroin overdoses and deaths in Charlotte have more than tripled since last year, a concern to authorities who want to prevent a repeat of the city’s drug battles of the early 1990s, reports the Charlotte Observer. Local officials are concerned that gangs, most of which are connected to Mexican drug organizations, are aggressively targeting teenagers. Said Mayor Pat McCrory: “We’re talking in every neighborhood. Both private and public schools. This is a serious issue.”
Officials have yet to see an increase in drug-related violence this year, but they fear that could change as drug violence along the border spills over into the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice’s 2009 National Drug Threat Assessment identified Charlotte as one of 230 cities where Mexican traffickers “maintain drug distribution networks” to sell cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, and heroin.