TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie used his opioid awareness crusade to award a clemency Friday.
The governor, with a stroke of his pen, cleared the slate for a New Jersey-native, Gail Naples, whose drug use "turned to stealing" and felony arrest charges to support her habit, she said. Naples, who's been sober for more than three decades, was given full clemency for her crimes.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for recovery," Naples said.
The focus of Christie's remaining days in office has been to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic here in New Jersey and across the nation. In addition to pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into recovery efforts and other anti-opioid campaigns, Christie says he wants to de-stigmatize drug addiction.
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"For all that she's achieved over the past three decades, the state of New Jersey can do its part to recognize Gail for her successes and her willingness to help others," Christie said.
"She accepts full responsibly for what happened," he said. "But to fully move forward she ... requested that I grant her a pardon for her past crimes."
Naples's criminal record from more than three decades ago has continued to hold her back from certain jobs.
Her stints in jail for theft stemmed from her late teens, when she said she was prescribed pain killers.
"After the prescription stopped i started using heroin," she said.
Naples is "truly a hero," Christie said. He referred to being able to pardon someone like her as "the coolest part" of his job.
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