(Memphis) A Bartlett dentist is in jail, accused of driving under the influence of prescription drugs with her 5-year-old son in the car.
Michelle Ward is facing numerous charges, including trying to sneak pills into jail when she was booked.
Police say they discovered Ward, shaking badly, in a heavily damaged Jetta at the McDonald’s on N. Houston Levee Road. Police say that she admitted to being high on prescription drugs and getting into an accident.
Slurring her speech and unsteady on her feet, Ward explained to officers that she hit a curb on her way into Mcdonald’s. Her 5-year-old son was in the backseat. Police say a bottle of muscle relaxers was in the center console.
According to the police report, Ward admitted to taking three pills (350 mg) before she came to the fast food restaurant and that she prescribes herself the medication under her brother-in-law’s name. She says she’s able to do it because she’s a dentist.
“Obviously, in the medical field people have easier access to drugs,” said Walter Williams, the executive director of First Step Recovery Centers for alcohol and drug treatment.
We stopped by Ward’s practice in Bartlett and her patients wouldn’t go on camera, but were stunned to learn their dentist was in jail.
Once Ward got to the jail, police say she tried to sneak pills inside with her, hiding more than 30 of them in her bra.
“It’s a disease. If she had cancer, people wouldn’t disrespect her,” said Williams.
Willams says he hopes people can find compassion for a woman who likely suffers from prescription drug addiction. He says in the state of Tennessee, it’s the number one reason why people are checking themselves into rehab.
“It has always been alcohol but now it`s prescription drugs,” he said.
Ward is in jail facing multiple charges, including identity theft, forging prescription drugs and reckless endangerment. Williams says a better place for her might be a treatment center.
“She needs help,” he said.