CMPD working to combat opioid crisis as overdoes increase

CMPD is working with the community to help eliminate the growing opioid epidemic, and the deaths resulting from it.

This is something that affects every community, and as one mother tells FOX 46, they’re no different.

“I don’t hear from her often. I live in fear every time my phone rings with a Washington state area code,” Melissa Baker said.

Opioid addiction hits home for the Charlotte mother. She spoke at CMPD headquarters about her 21-year-old daughter Alexandra, who is suffering from addiction.

“She is essentially homeless. She is living in a pop-up trailer with no running water to plumbing no nothing,” Baker said.

Ahead of CMPD's latest ‘Bridging the Gap’ series, Thursday’s conversation will involve the opioid crisis within Mecklenburg County.

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney says his officers respond to 25 overdose calls a month and the numbers of overdoses have shot up.

"We responded to 122 fatal overdoses from 2016 to 2017 . The data from 2018 is not as strong as we would like it to be at this point, but in 16 to 17 we saw a significant increase; 35 percent actually.

Putney says 46 percent of their cases involve white men, 20- 40 years old. That's in contrast to 13 percent in the black community. He says taking down the drug dealers is the focus.

“It’s something we are working on. This is not something we are trying to criminalize as far as those victimized by it, but we're also enforcing it aggressively so we can go after those people selling it in our jurisdiction.”

Baker, who is part of tomorrow's panel, has a message for others in her situation.

“Do away with the shame and stigma of addiction,” she says. “We need to come together as a community and solve this as a community from the top down, the bottom up, sideways and backwards because what affects one of us, affects all of us.”