Heroin and pill abuse stir a battle cry in Vermont

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Behind the facade of pristine ski slopes, craft beer, quaint village greens and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, Vermont is grappling with painkiller and heroin abuse.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says it's a challenge fueling crime and wrecking lives and families. Last week he devoted almost all of his State of the State speech to the topic.

Nearly every day, police across Vermont respond to burglaries or armed robberies investigators believe are prompted by the hunger for money to feed heroin or pill habits.

Law enforcement officials say that in many cases, what began as the abuse of prescription drugs has turned into heroin because it's less expensive and easier to get.

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