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West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin reintroduces the Clean Start Act

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Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 12:18 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - More than 90,000 people have died from substance abuse in the last year alone. Over the past few weeks, one congressman has introduced a number of bills in an attempt to address increasing addiction and overdose.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has reintroduced a number of bipartisan bills to address substance abuse, including the Clean Start Act.

This would allow those who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor as a result of substance abuse to have their records sealed, following the completion of treatment.

The treatment would entail a year of substance abuse treatment and at least six months as a peer recovery coach. Experts say the opportunity for a second chance is vital to recovery.

“You might [be] doing other things.. drunk in public petty theft to pay for the drug addiction or alcohol. Well if we can tackle those things then that takes away the criminal element,” Natalie Broadnax said. Broadnax is the owner of the Mid Atlantic Recovery Center (MARC) in Waynesboro.

Broadnax says when someone is battling an opioid addiction, there is no easy fix.

“If we can tackle the stigma of treatment, because the people who make the step to call and come in, that can be the hardest part because you are coming out into the open that ‘I have an addiction. Really it can happen to anyone,” she added.

MARC is open seven days a week and combines medication and counseling to help those battling opioid addictions. Those interested in treatment should reach out by phone at 540-221-4885 or online by clicking here.

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