CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An e-mail tip came in to the NewsChannel 36 I-Team on the evening of July 4 saying that five people had overdosed on heroin and all were treated at the emergency room inside Carolinas Medical Center-University.

CMC spokesman Kevin McCarthy confirmed at least four overdose cases and said there might have been more.

Robert Martin, the director of Substance Abuse Services at CMC-Mercy, said the supply of heroin in Charlotte is increasingly potent and plentiful.

Our patients told us the dealers are fiving away free heroin. Buy 8, get 2 free, said Martin, like a 'Big Box Store.'

Friday afternoon NewsChannel 36 contacted one person who was using heroin with one of the patients who overdosed. NewsChannel 36 agreed not to use his name.

He attributed the rash of overdoses to an extraordinarily powerful batch of heroin, a tan powder, which he said was distributed by what he called the Mexican mafia.

He said his friend had eaten some Xanax that day. He drew back (to inject the heroin) and I said, Bro, don t do that much. He said, That s real good dope. His head fell down. I just thought he nodded off. He plays about dying all the time. I shoved my fingers down his throat. He didn t gag or nothing. It went south. It went really south. I m just glad he didn t die.

The man said the heroin currently on the streets of Charlotte is deadly.

I did half a bag and it felt like three times the amount you would do off a normal dosage. It s very potent. I know he got it from a Mexican. That (stuff) needs to get off the street. It s going to be fatal.

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