Is Shumlin's fight against opiates hurting Vt.'s reputation? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Is Shumlin's public fight against opiates hurting Vt.'s reputation?

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Gov. Peter Shumlin Gov. Peter Shumlin

Opiate addiction dominated Gov. Peter Shumlin's State of the State address Wednesday. Less than 24 hours later his speech is making national headlines.

The New York Times-- among others-- picked up the story of Vermont's governor describing the problem as a "full blown heroin crisis" in the Green Mountains.

Shumlin spent his entire half-hour speech outlining how the growing opiate epidemic in Vermont is threatening the health, safety and quality of life for those who live here. The governor acknowledges highlighting addiction was risky for Vermont's reputation, but says it was a risk worth taking.

"There isn't a governor in the country who doesn't have this challenge, but they're afraid that they'll be tagged the opiate state, the heroin state. Listen, my view is that if I were the listening public I would say to myself, 'I know Vermont's got a great quality of life, I know that all of America is embroiled in a drug challenge, a war on drugs that we've now been losing for 30 to 40 years, at least Vermont is willing to acknowledge it and do something about it. I'd rather spend my tourist dollars there.' I'm hoping that's what they say," Shumlin said.

Catch the rest of Governor Shumlin's interview this Sunday morning. He's our guest on You Can Quote Me starting at 11 a.m. on Channel 3.

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