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New England Heroin Epidemic Sees Dramatic Increase In Addiction And Death

In Maine, deaths attributed to heroin have quadrupled, and in Vermont, opiate addiction has skyrocketed by 770%, according to the governor.

Posted on January 15, 2014, at 2:35 p.m. ET

A troubling new report from the Maine attorney general's office suggest a heroin epidemic is taking hold in the Northeast United States, with the number of heroin deaths in Maine alone quadrupling from 2011 to 2012.

There were only seven deaths attributed to heroin in 2011, but that number rose to 24 in 2012.

There were only seven deaths attributed to heroin in 2011, but that number rose to 24 in 2012.

This comes after a New York Times report last July in which addiction specialist Dr. Mark Publicker stated that it's "easier to get heroin... than it is to get a UPS delivery” in certain rural New England areas.


The same article also attributes the rise in heroin addiction to the restrictions placed upon doctors in prescribing synthetic opiate pain pills. Heroin is also much cheaper and easier to get than pills such as oxycodone.


Vermont is also struggling with a rise in heroin abuse with a 770% increase in treatment for opiate addictions, according to Governor Shumlin. The problem has become so severe that he devoted the entirety of his State of the State address to the problem.

The Associated Press

From Gov. Shumlin's address:

"In every corner of our state, heroin and opiate drug addiction threatens us. The time has come for us to stop quietly averting our eyes from the growing heroin addiction in our front yards while we fear and fight treatment facilities in our backyards."

Update: According to a report from VPR, while treatment of heroin addiction is increasing in the state, has seen a slight decline in opioid addiction.

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