Addicted and without insurance, Tampa woman breaks the law to detox in jail

A Tampa woman desperate to get help with her heroin addiction says she broke the law so she could go to jail instead of rehab.

“She’s been miserable for a long time, a long time,” said the woman's father, Mike Morris.

After years of abusing pain pills and heroin, Morris’ daughter, Michelle Hildebrandt, finally hit rock bottom. The single mother is desperate to get clean but doesn’t have health insurance or the money to get into a treatment facility.

“She needed to go somewhere where she couldn’t just leave, couldn’t just sign herself out,” Morris said. “So she decided to go get herself arrested.”

The 32-year-old was picked up by Largo police Sunday night. Arrest paperwork says Hildebrandt walked into a CVS on East Bay Drive, ripped open a box of cereal and a box of plastic utensils, then dumped them on the floor. 

When police got there she told the cop she wanted to go to jail because she’s addicted to heroin and can’t get help anywhere else.

Even though she lives in Tampa, Morris said his daughter made sure to get arrested in Pinellas County, explaining she heard the jail helps inmates safely detox from opioids.

Morris thinks it’s disgusting anyone is forced to get locked up to break their addiction.

“There’s no resources available for the help that people need,” he said.

Now, for the first time in a long time, Morris has hope for his daughter and her future.

He said he's hopeful “that she stays clean, you know, that she’s able to put her life back together.”

Officials with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office told FOX 13 News the Pinellas County Jail does offer inmates a few different recovery groups while behind bars, like Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, and substance abuse counseling.