This post originally appeared in Business Insider.
Vermont has a growing drug problem. It’s gotten so bad that on Wednesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin spent his entire 34-minute State of the State address talking about Vermont’s “full-blown heroin crisis.”
The state has the highest rate of illicit drug use in the country, with 15 percent of people surveyed saying they’ve used within the past month, according to 2010-2011 surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Heroin use has risen dramatically in Vermont during the past 12 years. In 2000, 399 people were treated for heroin abuse in Vermont. By 2012, that number shot up to 3,479.
The trend seems to be hitting the 25-34 age group especially hard:
The epidemic in Vermont might be caused in part by the incentive big-city drug dealers have to do business in smaller towns. A bag of heroin that would cost $5 in a big city can sell for as much as $30 in Rutland, Vermont, the city’s police chief James Baker told Seven Days, an independent newspaper in Vermont. Location is also important. Vermont’s proximity to Montreal makes it an attractive stop for drug dealers traveling from Canada.
Barbara Cimaglio, Vermont’s deputy commissioner for alcohol and drug abuse programs, told Business Insider in October: “I think Vermont is really in sort of a perfect storm because we’re on that highway between Montreal, Boston, New York, and also going to Philadelphia. You have to go through Vermont to get to some of the bigger cities like Boston, so it seems like some people are just trafficking along the way and Vermont is one of the stops.”