The Washington Times - January 14, 2014, 10:28AM

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said Tuesday it is time to get serious about heroin addiction in his state, a burgeoning problem that he says cannot be fixed through mass arrests.

Mr. Shumlin, a Democrat, devoted his entire State of the State address this month to the “full-blown heroin crisis” in his state — a slice of New England more commonly associated with green hills and peaceful living than drug use.

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While hardly a problem that affects Vermont alone, the state has seen a 770 percent increase in treatment for opiate use since 2000.

“Vermont’s a small state where neighbors take care of neighbors … We’re dealing with a public health crisis, here,” Mr. Shumlin told MSNBC’s “Jansing and Co.”

He said the war on drugs has largely failed, so it is more useful to eliminate the root of the problem than lock people up.

The heroin problem can be traced to about a decade ago, he said, when health providers began to dole out prescription opiates with “irrational exuberance.”

“They usually start with Oxycontin,” he said of heroin addicts.