Heroin is the New Maple Syrup

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Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Vermont is the 2nd least populous of the 50 United States and the largest producer of maple syrup in the country. More on Vermont: The state is not all about the maple syrup; there’s also the heroin.

The drug problem has gotten so bad in Vermont, that Gov. Peter Shumlin recently spent his entire 34-minute State of the State address talking about Vermont’s: “full-blown heroin crisis.”

Ready for an insane stat? The “Freedom and Unity’ state has the heroin rate in the country with 15% of people surveyed saying they’ve used the “H” within the past month. (The state has roughly 625,000 residents.) The quandary is crazy; Vermonters suffer from high unemployment, yet too many job applicants are failing drug tests. The Vermont heroin problem is another barrier to finding the right people to fill open manufacturing jobs, and rightfully so! You don’t really want people on smack operating heavy machinery.

Another Vermont fun fact: on a daily basis police across Vermont

respond to burglaries or armed robberies. Reports theorized that the reason for the crime is insatiable hunger for money to feed heroin habits. According to ABC News, Vermont ranks second in the country for the rate of people being treated for opiate abuse; over the past five years, the number of serious drug crimes rose 46 percent. Last year, the number of heroin overdose deaths went from nine to seventeen. Five times as many heroin dealers were indicted in 2013 as in 2010.

The theories behind the epidemic:

Large incentives for big-city drug dealers. A bag of heroin that would cost $5 in New York can sell for as much as $30 in Rutland, Vermont.

Location! Location! Location! Vermont’s proximity to Montreal makes it a convenient rest stop for drug dealers traveling from Canada.

Heroin is easier to get, and less expensive, than other drugs like prescription pain pills.

Maj. Glenn Hall, head of the Vermont State Police’s criminal division:

“For years now, when we do heroin cases, we find pills intermixed. Many times, heroin users have pills. When they don’t have heroin, they’re looking for the pill. When they don’t have the pills, they’re looking for heroin.”

(I believe that’s called chasing the dragon.)

“Anyone who doesn’t believe that they have an opiate challenge in their state is in denial,” Gov. Shumlin stated. “The point is that if we can shift from our belief, our fantasy, that we can solve all of these problems with law enforcement, we’ll go a long way toward solving the problem. This is primarily a public health crisis.”