Memphis, Shelby County see rise in heroin-related deaths

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Local law enforcement officials are working to combat the rise in the number of heroin-related deaths in Memphis and Shelby County.

The Commercial Appeal ( reports 14 people in the city and county have died from heroin overdoses so far this year.

Shelby County Prosecutor Amy Weirich says the number of heroin-related deaths, which jumped from nine in 2011 to 80 in 2015, is a huge issue.

Tennessee statute calls for a second-degree murder charge when a person unlawfully delivers a drug to another person and the drug results in their death.

Weirich says she has prosecuted three or four drug overdose cases, including heroin, since she’s been district attorney.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Chris Harris says although it’s sometimes difficult, they’ll continue going after individuals who sell the drug.