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Vermonters speak out over Rolling Stone image - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermonters speak out over Rolling Stone image

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

It's a photo that some Vermonters say puts tradition in a bad light. "I can't see 'em out in the woods shooting up like," said Suzane Larock, a sugarmaker.

The image published in the recent edition of Rolling Stone Magazine shows a sugarmaker in the woods shooting up drugs. The photo is depicted on a traditional maple syrup can.

"I think it's pretty bad. I think it's sad, cause the sugarmakers, they don't do that. They have no time to do that. They're too busy gathering sap," Larock said.

"It's sad for the people who have lived their lives and generations making maple syrup that's really going to do a hard thing to them," said Sara Williams, a Fair Haven resident.

The image is posted alongside a detailed article digging into Vermont's opiate problem and shares the stories of addicts. Local officials and police dealing with the drug's destruction firsthand say the image doesn't represent what they see in the community.

"I think it's unfair it is not a characteristic portrayal of our community or the people in the state of Vermont," said Rutland Police Sgt. John Sly.

"That's really kind of insulting to Vermont actually. I take offense to it, being born and raised here," said Kylee Keith from Pittsford.

Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vermont) tells WCAX-TV that he hopes the image doesn't take away from the issue at hand. "I don't think that a particular photograph is going to change the importance of this dialogue which is to be proactive, to find better ways to deal with what is a health care crisis in all 50 states as even the article points out," Shumlin said.

"Hopefully this is just a momentary distraction from the true focus and that's communities coming together and actually pushing forward a process to eradicate from our state, this epidemic of heroin and other drug uses," Sgt. Sly said.

Larock recognizes there's a drug problem, but using maple sends a mixed message. "It does mean a lot and so I hate to have something like that tainted," Larock said. 

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