Berclair residents say heroin epidemic is destroying their neighborhood

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Residents in Berclair say they are fed up with the heroin epidemic that seems to be swallowing their neighborhood.

They say it draws crime, encourages loitering and brings drug activity to sacred places.

The foot traffic seems to never stop near the Berclair Church of Christ on Summer Avenue.

But as a neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, explains it goes beyond just hanging out.

We found a belt and needles in the bushes just across the street from the church.

All are possible tools to get high on heroin.

"Oh yeah, down here by the church I saw one stretched out by the sidewalk," the neighbor said. "I was going to call the ambulance and the police, and then I saw him move his hand."

The neighbor says addicts are taking over their neighborhood, leaving traces of trash in their hangout spots in broad daylight.

"My shed has been broken into, and my garage was broken into while I was home," she said. "I heard racked outside, and it was a little too much to be a cat."

She said many of the addicts are so bold that it's disturbing.

"I walked outside and asked them what they were doing. There was another person with my husband's wheelchair, and he had it loaded down with things from my carport."

She thinks heroin addicts are to blame for her radio being stolen out of her car, her battery being tampered with and her lawnmower and camping gear being taken out of her front yard.

"I just wish it would stop before it escalates to more."

WREG talked with Carol Feligno who says she couldn't believe needles and heroin addicts had been spotted lying just feet away from the shopping center where she goes to stock up on groceries.

"Every now and then I see pandhandlers, but I had no idea it was that bad here.

Bill Johnson found the same sight hard to imagine and dangerous to say the least, especially for children who play in the area.

"It's a shame that our society is in this shape. I just feel like there has to be something that could be done."

Shoppers and residents both hope for a solution that keeps needles off of the ground, crime down and leads to help for addicts walking the streets.

The heroin epidemic is not new in the Mid-South.

In fact, many heroin users don't know it, but Narcan - which is used to to saves lives during overdoses- is sold over the counter in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.

It costs about $40.