Former teacher's aide who turned to heroin after painkiller addiction sentenced

Aubrey Murden
Aubrey Murden

A former individual teacher's aide for a child with a disability was sentenced for using heroin after she told police she snorted the drug two or three times a day after becoming addicted to painkillers.

Aubrey Murden, 24, was charged in September after she was pulled over by a St. Clair County Sheriff's Department deputy. She told police she had cervical cancer, and that she turned to heroin once her doctor took her off the pain pills she had become addicted to.

When she was arrested, Murden had four capsules of heroin and an inhaler pipe in her purse for "personal use," according to a police report.

More than half a million people died between 2000 and 2015 from opioids. Today, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic.

She was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation and 30 hours of community service, according to court records. Under Illinois law, however, if Murden successfully completes her probation, she could avoid a conviction.

As a paraprofessional, Murden worked with students across the 23 school districts the Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative covers, said Jeff Daugherty, the cooperative's executive director. BASSC employees work with students who have disabilities, behavior disorders, hearing impairments, cognitive disorders and autism.

Prior to Murden's hiring at BASSC, she underwent a background check, as required by state law. Applicants must submit an application with references and results from a physical exam from their doctor, Daugherty told the BND in September. Drug testing is not required by state law, and the cooperative does not drug test applicants.