MTV's "True Life" Leads to Arrests

By Allison McCabe 12/27/13

Two people are arrested on drug and other charges as a result of their behavior on a reality show.

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On a recent episode of MTV’s “True Life,” Cortney J. Howard, 26, and David R. Nickell, 33, of Kentucky were portrayed buying and using drugs, sometimes in the presence of Howard’s 5-year-old son. As a result of their behavior on the show, the pair has been arrested on drug and other charges.

After watching “I’m Addicted to Pills” on December 9th, Carter County Attorney Patrick Flannery “reported what [he] saw to the appropriate authorities.” Kentucky State Police investigated and found that Howard and Nickell had made “numerous violations of law.” The show portrays Howard and Nickell trading stolen items for drugs, snorting crushed pills, and bringing Howard’s child along when they go to buy drugs. “I know I shouldn’t take [my son] along, but I have no one to watch him,” said Howard.

Howard, who acknowledged that she’d “crossed a line” by using drugs in her son’s presence, is shown entering treatment at the end of the show. According to the show’s epilogue, Howard had been on suboxone maintenance for two months and was looking for a job and new place to live.

Howard and Nickell were charged with first-degree drug possession, first-degree drug trafficking, endangering the welfare of a minor and felony theft.

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Allison McCabe is the editor in chief of The Fix. She has written for LA Weekly, Village Voice, Junk: a literary fix, Ramshackle Review, Main Street Journal and others. Follow Allison on Twitter.