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This ongoing series takes in-depth look at the heroin epidemic spreading across West Virginia. From the story of the addict who could no longer get prescription narcotics on the street, the emergency room physician who cares for overdose patients, and the lawmakers working to reverse the trend--these are the voices and stories of West Virginians impacted by heroin.Has heroin affected you or someone you know? Share your story here.

Manchin Tells Opioid Addict’s Story, Plans Introduction of ‘Jessie’s Law’


U.S. Senator Joe Manchin will soon introduce legislation that aims to combat the nation’s growing problems with substance abuse. Manchin took to the Senate Floor Wednesday to announce the forthcoming introduction of “Jessie’s Law.”

The legislation was inspired by Jessica Grubb, a Charleston native and heroin addict who recently died after receiving a prescription for opioids. Manchin called the growing problem with opioid addiction an “epidemic.”

“We talk about Ebola and Zika and all the things we’re concerned about. But you haven’t heard a lot about opioids because it’s that silent killer, if you will. It’s one that we’re all ashamed if it happens to us or our family. We don’t talk much about it," said Manchin.

"We think we can handle it within our own structure. It’s an epidemic and there’s not a person in the country that, I say, doesn’t know someone in their immediate family that hasn’t been effective. That’s the epidemic.”

During his Wednesday floor speech, Manchin said drug overdose deaths West Virginia have increased by 700 percent from 1999 to 2013, with over 600 deaths reported last year. 

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