Heroin is the New Maple Syrup

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.”

4 thoughts on “Heroin is the New Maple Syrup”

  1. As a Vermonter I can attest that these are the current conditions. The solution is evasive but legalization with regulation may help. As a former health care advocate, I dealt with many users that are trying to rehabilitate themselves but can’t access Suboxone and Methadone clinics, which are few and overrun up here. Dealers are easier to access and probably cheaper.

  2. High unemployment? That is not true at all. Vermont has one of the lowest rates in the country at 4.4%.

  3. There are a lot of unemployed in Vermont that can no longer collect so they are not included in that statistic. The job market is sparse. The cost of living really out weighs the average income you can make. I pay just as much in rent as I did living in Boston and only $100 less then I did living in NYC. As a single 32 year old college graduate and Vermont native, I work and average of 15 hours a day between four jobs and hardly make ends meet. I haven’t had a day off in over six months. I am exhausted and desperate to make enough to pay my bills and hope to save some so I can move someplace where someday I can support myself with one job. I know what its like to not have a job too. I was unemployed for almost two years before I found the work I have now. I am lucky that I have never had an addictive personality and have never turned to drugs. But i can see the desperation in my peers. The need to turn to drugs to have some escape from the hopelessness that is being a young person in Vermont.

  4. Ask the Doctor’s….. Heroine and it’s dealers play a smaller part in Vermont’s opiate addiction than them.

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