Black tar heroin becoming major menace on Nashville streets - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Black tar heroin becoming major menace on Nashville streets

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Metro narcotics officers are working hard to get a dangerous drug called black tar heroin off the streets.

Nashville had a heroin problem back in 1970s, but officers say it's nothing like what they are starting to see now with black tar.

And if you think it's not your problem, think again. The drug is responsible for a lot of the crime we see in Metro Nashville.

The drug is cheap and highly addictive. Black tar is an opiate processed using morphine, and it gives you a bigger rush.

"We are seeing more and more of it every week, everyday," said Metro police drug detective Gene Donegan.

Donegan leads a task force of 10 officers and says they have encountered drug organizations that begin in Mexico winding up in Nashville.

"Once we knock off one of them, they turn around, they send three or four more people back up from Mexico to start the distribution process again," Donegan said.

Fueling the black tar problem in Nashville is what cops are calling the "circle of addiction."

"It's something where you get addicted to a pain killer, Xanax or something like that, then you step up to Loritab then oxycontin. Then, to kill the pain, you step up to heroin," Donegan said.

And you might be surprised who is using black tar heroin.

"I've seen 18 to 19 year olds driving their grandmothers car, 30-year-old housewives with children in the back of the car, 50- to 60-year-old men and women," Donegan said.

The black tar epidemic in Nashville is also fueling its share of crime.

"Many of your personal property crimes - burglaries, robberies, home invasions - are drug related, drug driven," Donegan said. "It's really started to get out of control."

Police say heroin seizures this year compared to the same time last year are up 40 percent.

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