Mother receives backlash online after turning teacher in for allegedly stealing pills

BALLARD COUNTY, KY — In America, 19.7 million people have battled with substance abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that number in 2017.

Just about everyone knows someone affected by the opioid epidemic, and it can be hard to know what you can do to stop it. A local mom turned Ballard Memorial High School teacher April Jewell in for allegedly stealing her daughter’s pills.

April Jewell

That mom says she’s being attacked online for getting the police involved. She did not want us to use her name in this story, because of the online attacks.

Two recovering addicts told WPSD that getting arrested can sometimes be the thing you need to get clean.

“I commend that woman. That is a very brave and courageous act. That’s a hard thing to do,” Kimberly Early said. She said her mother was the one who turned her in.

“That was probably the strongest act of love she has ever shown me,” Early said.  Now she’s six years sober. She was addicted to methamphetamine and opioids.

“I did meth for several years,” said Kimberly Cooper. She has been sober for one year.

“You just put all your time and energy into it, you know?” Cooper explains. “Everyone else is lying and stealing, so then you just kind of fall right into that.”

They both stay at Ladies Living Free treatment center. They know the pain and lies that comes with addiction.

The mother who turned April Jewell in shared her side of the story on Facebook. In her post she said “I ask you to think about my position and all the thoughts running in my head.”

She explained that Jewell was tutoring her daughter on CPR. She said when she came home, her daughter said she heard her medicine bottle being messed with and found her pills half gone.

She said she took pictures of all the medicine her daughter had after her surgery. The next time Jewell came over to tutor, she said it happened again.

I spoke with that mom over the phone. She said over the course of two days, 34 pills were taken from her home. She said she has firsthand experience dealing with addiction, because a close family member was an addict for many years. She said all she wanted to do by calling police was to get that teacher help.

People online are saying she shouldn’t have got police involved. Early and Cooper disagree.

“When you get in trouble with the law, you can’t talk your way out of it. You can’t lie. All of your schemes that you’ve been using before don’t work,” Cooper said. Sometimes you need a push in the right direction.

I sent Jewell a message via Facebook. I have not heard back.

Jewell’s arraignment is set for Monday, May 13.

For more on this story and others, like and follow Leah Shields on Facebook.