Sen. Manchin introduces Clean Start, LifeBOAT Act

Senator Joe Manchin, introduces two new plans to combat West Virginia's opiate crisis.

Screen Shot from Manchin's website

Senator Joe Manchin, introduces two new plans to combat West Virginia's opiate crisis.

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Sen. Joe Manchin has recently sponsored multiple bills with the same purpose of helping recovery addicts have a new start.

According to Manchin’s website, The Clean Start Act and the LifeBOAT Act are the names of the bills that have been sponsored by Manchin and recently introduced in the United States Senate.

Manchin’s website notes “Combating the National Drug Abuse Epidemic” as one of his main issues that he is working on. Manchin was the lead sponsor of the LifeBOAT Act, formally known as the Budgeting for Opioid Treatment Act or Senate Bill 523.

According to a Senate press release, Manchin is re-introducing the bill that has been discussed in Congress previously.

The press release states, “The LifeBOAT Act would establish reliable funding to expand access to substance abuse treatment.”

Among other purposes, the act could provide funding for “establishing new addiction treatment facilities, residential and outpatient,” “establishing access to long-term, residential programs for addicts” and “establishing and/or operating facilities to provide care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome,” according to the press release.

Co-sponsors of the LifeBOAT Act include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, and Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-CT, and others, according to the official Congress website.

“This legislation will bridge that gap and make sure that we can provide treatment to everyone who makes the decision to get help,” Manchin said in the Senate press release.

Gro Huntington Executive Director Jeannie Harrison weighed in on the legislation that would directly affect the clients involved in her nonprofit organization.

The Gro Huntington website says the organization is “a healing urban farm in the heart of Huntington, West Virginia with a volunteer program centered on serving individuals in addiction recovery.”

Harrison said the LifeBOAT bill would be beneficial to organizations like Gro Huntington because “more funding would really broaden our avenues in terms of being able to provide a variety of recovery options and really securing our sustainability as programs.”

According to the official Congress website, SB 523 was introduced in the United States Senate on Thursday, March 2, and was then referred to the finance committee for further consideration. 

Another press release found on Manchin’s website notes he was the lead sponsor of the Clean Start Act.

“The Clean Start Act will allow people with a federal felony or misdemeanor conviction for a past nonviolent crime committed as a result of drug addiction an opportunity to have their criminal record sealed after undergoing comprehensive addiction treatment and demonstrating a commitment to their recovery,” the press release states.

“It’s very difficult to find a job and you end up back in the same living situation with the same people that really fueled your addiction,” Harrison said on people who have past criminal records.

Harrison also said the key to a healthy recovery is being able to find a steady job that will keep recovery addicts away from old habits and lifestyles.

The Clean Start Act was introduced the same day as the reintroduction of the LifeBOAT Act, March 2, and was sent to the judiciary committee for further discussion, according the official Congress website.

Kylee Hurley can be contacted at [email protected]