Mt. Vernon Register-News

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December 26, 2013

Pair arrested for behavior on MTV reality show

GRAYSON, Ky. — A woman and her former boyfriend featured in a recent episode of MTV's "True Life" have been arrested based on their behavior on the reality show, which depicted the woman purchasing and using drugs, sometimes in the presence of her 5-year-old son.

Kentucky State Police last week arrested 26-year-old Cortney J. Howard, of Grayson, Ky., and 33-year-old David R. Nickell, of Sandy Hook, Ky. Police said the pair were charged as the result of their participation in an episode of the "True Life" series titled "I'm Addicted to Pills." 

The program aired on Dec. 9. It drew the scrutiny of Carter County Attorney Patrick Flannery, who said he watched it and "reported what I saw to the appropriate authorities." The KSP launched an investigation that culminated with Howard's and Nickell's arrests on Friday.

The KSP said the show’s cameras had captured "numerous violations of law," including drug use and trafficking and placing children in "unsafe positions."

Flannery said he was particularly disturbed by the portions of the program that depicted Howard engaging in drug-related behavior in the presence of her 5-year-old son.

“It is important to note that all citizens have a duty under Kentucky law to report the dependency, neglect or abuse of a minor to law enforcement or to social services," he said.

Howard was charged with first-degree drug possession, endangering the welfare of a minor and felony theft. Nickell, identified on the show as Howard’s former boyfriend, was charged with first-degree drug trafficking.

Howard was one of two addicts profiled on the program. The other was "Dan," a 29-year-old from Hollywood, Fla.

The show depicts Howard buying and using pills and stealing items from her mother that she trades for drugs. At one point, the program's cameras follow along as Howard and Nickell take Howard's son along on a drug buy.

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