Nurse arrested, accused of public intoxication and stealing fentanyl

BROWNSVILLE, Ky. – On Saturday, Edmonson County deputies responded to Genesis Healthcare in Brownsville after reports of a possible intoxicated employee.

The employee was identified as Melissa C. Howard, 48, of Scottsville, according to a release from the Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office.  Howard is a licensed practical nurse at Genesis Healthcare.

According to the Edmonson County Sheriff’s office, nurses on duty had noticed Howard staggering, having slurred speech and acting impaired. A 100 milligram Fentanyl patch had been found in Howard’s pocket by a fellow nurse, according to the release.

When law enforcement arrived, they found Howard chewing on the plastic backing of a fentanyl patch and she showed classic signs of impairment, according to the release. Deputies said two other fentanyl patches were found to be in Howard’s possession and it was discovered that all had been stolen from patients, according to the release.

Howard was arrested and is charged with three counts of theft by unlawful taking or disposition of controlled substance under $10,000, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, public intoxication and tampering with physical evidence.

Howard was transported to Caverna Hospital for medical clearance and then transported and held in the Hart County Jail.

The investigation is ongoing.