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Woman’s Struggle with Drug Addiction Takes Turn for the Worse, Charged with Possession

BROOKSVILLE – A sad story to report after a woman’s long battle with drug abuse has taken a turn for the worse. 35-year-old Jennifer Birkel contacted RNRF in 2015 after we posted job openings for advertising sales and writers. I met with Birkel who explained that she was clean and sober and that she was working towards reuniting with her children, who were removed due to her issues with  drugs.

Birkel wasn’t shy about her past and spoke openly about her struggles but on June 27th all of her hard work may have crumbled to the ground.

According to a Sheriff’s Office report, Deputies conducted a traffic stop on Birkel’s Chrysler Sebring at the intersection of Cortez Blvd and Coastal Way. Deputy Robert Desmond asked Birkel for her license but Birkel stated that she only had an ID card because her license was suspended.

Desmond asked Birkel if she had anything illegal in the car and she replied “no.” Birkel was detained in the back of a patrol car and later admitted that a pill bottle would be found inside her car.

A search of the vehicle revealed 3 used needles, 10 mg Oxymorphone Hydrochloride, and 1 mg Benztropine.

Birkel is charged with possession of paraphernalia, poss. of new drug without prescription, and poss. of a controlled substance. She is currently free on a $2,500 bond.

We have not been able to reach Birkel for comment at this time.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.


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  • This is HEARTBREAKING! She is NOT A BAD PERSON. Has a heart of gold, and LOVES those kids to no end. Inside info: she’s never neglected, abused ( or been accused of those things). She got hooked on precription meds after a had accident. Those poor kids were ripped away after their dad died, and she took a few extra pills to get thru the day.. dcf counted them, and took the kids. She screwed up, but that employee has since been fired. The daycare the kids went to even fought for her, and the kids to stay together. No wonder she is freaking depressed.. she feels like life isn’t worth living without the kids.
    Is she a monster? NO! Is she suffering? Yes. So are the kids. I PRAY she regains her strength, for herself and the kids. They adore her. E
    Shame on some of you..

    Saturday, 23 September 2017, 10:16 pm
  • So many comments from ignorant ppl. Jail has never cured addiction and more often than not,relapse is part of recovery. You want to lock her up and throw away the key cuz she is an addict? Well what if ppl wanted to lock you up forever because you are born crippled,or born with white skin? Regardless of what you think she didn’t choose to be an addict. Just like ppl don’t choose to deal with MS or Parkinson’s.

    Saturday, 1 July 2017, 6:17 pm
  • This article in particular is painful…i would like to write for you Tom Lemons..where do i sign up?

    Friday, 30 June 2017, 2:26 pm
  • Drug addiction is also called substance use disorder, is a dependence on a legal or illegal drug or medication. Keep in mind that alcohol and nicotine are legal substances, but are also considered drugs.
    Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works.
    You are not born with the addiction, unless your mother was an avid drug user while she was pregnant with you. So it is a choice that one makes.
    These people that think they are experts on addiction should go to a NA meeting and listen to the stories behind the addictions. And listen to the struggles they have to stop.
    So, that being said…try to put your feet in their shoes…can you imagine the struggle? Unless you have been there and successfully can say you WERE an addict, then don’t judge these people. They struggle with the addiction every day..some make it, and tragically, some don’t, be it in ways they will never see their family and friends again or they live it on the street. God Bless and prayers for the ones that make it and prayers to the families that have to say good-bye forever.

    Friday, 30 June 2017, 12:38 pm
  • She has pretty eyes.

    Friday, 30 June 2017, 11:45 am
  • I know her & she’s an absolute sweetheart. I don’t judge & I don’t quite understand the usage of drugs, but I feel for her

    Friday, 30 June 2017, 9:10 am
  • Hope she gets the help she needs.

    Friday, 30 June 2017, 8:41 am
  • Any addiction is horrible, getting any kind of help is ridiculously impossible until you end up in jail and when a person shows up to speak to you, it’s time to listen. Miss Wendy from AA is an angel. Yes most drug addicts prefer AA. The horrendous part of addiction is when the corrupted DCF in this county get a hold of your kids! 6 months of jumping thru their hoops and not making one single mistake and she has a 5% chance of getting them back. DCF is selling our children, go online and type in those words on youtube! I have been researching the horrors of DCF throughout our states and abroad and its beyond compression that they have more power than the police departments! What ever they write up and throw in front of a judge he signs it, no matter how much paperwork you have to prove the “real facts”, from the police reports, hospital records, nobody cares, nobody gives a damn. As a grandmother I am being put thru hell and DCF has my only blonde hair blue eyed granddaughter and had promised if one stipulation was met, I would get her back, it was met perfectly, and they lied. DCF are liars and if you show your feelings, or get upset or question their sneaky ways, you are removed by any means they can find.
    Words are twisted and you are provoked until they have your child. ******Did you know our state gets extra funding, every time DCF removes a child from their home and finds idiotic excuses of why 7 different relatives homes are not right, DCF puts them in foster care, where nobody gives a shit about them, horrible diaper rashes week after week, huge bruises, thick green mucous snot in her hair and on her lip, my god, the more i cryed out for help the more reasons i gave them to find a way, for me, to stop seeing her!!!! Then they terminate the parents rights and our state gets an extra $6,000.00 when DCF, their poor, mislead, misinformed attorneys and the UNCARING overloaded judge adopt her to NON KIN PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!
    My only grandson is dead because DCF took him, a perfectly healthy 10 pound boy from the hospital and put him in a horrible foster home where he contracted herpes simplex in his eye, pneumonia, and 2 more deadly diseases. Yes I have hired a lawyer, yes my daughter is finally free from addiction and doing great, but DCF still won’t give my granddaughter back.
    ***Sept 18th, 2017 a huge rally will start in Washington DC we are trying to bring awareness that the Department of Children and Families are stealing our children, its a vicious circle that no one seems to be able to stop. 6,000 children per state are being ripped away from their families, times that by 50 states!!!!
    Please help save our children and come to the rally.

    March On Washington For ALL Unjust Child Removals By CPS | Washington, District of Columbia | Monday, 18. September 2017

    Friday, 30 June 2017, 3:08 am
  • I really do have sympathy for this woman. But…does this mean you have a job opening?

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 8:07 pm
    • You have no ❤

      Friday, 30 June 2017, 11:53 pm
  • No one starts taking drugs with the intention of becoming an addict, but WHY take them in the first place?
    I don’t get it.

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 6:16 pm
    • Sometimes people use to forget pains that have happened to them. Its an escape

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 8:40 pm
      • Don’t give me that crap! Go to the gym then. Hang out with your kids at the park. Find a better and more legal way to escape. Tired of people saying they feel sorry for drug abusers if it’s such an “addiction” then take your butt to the proper people to cure this “addiction”. You are in control of your own choices, if you choose to keep doing dumb things instead of seeking help then that is what makes you the loser.

        Friday, 30 June 2017, 7:26 am
    • There are so many people that are prescribed drugs by doctors for injuries and become easily hooked. We also have a whole generation that were forced to take drugs by parents and doctors because sitting still and being quiet for hours on end was a issue for them. They are all drug addicts now. Not to mention the children of today that doctors and parents are poisoning with that crap. It is only going to get worse.

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 9:13 pm
    • Sometimes all it takes is an injury and a Doctor who prescribes a narcotic and addictive personality.

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 10:12 pm
      • Having know this girl through a friend for many years, its the physical to get the meds then under medical supervision they turn you into an addict. That catapults your life in a negative so that negative happen as a result. Now you life is a mess and in order to deal with the terrible ordeal of losing your kids you medicate to avoid the emotional pain. I have sat in on more than one occasion when she cried so hard over her children she would be shaken. I implore people to have some caring and understanding. I would not want to be in the pain she is. Love ya Jen, I am here for you!

        Friday, 30 June 2017, 11:18 am
    • If you ” dont get it ” then you have no business passing judgments. IMO

      Friday, 30 June 2017, 12:43 am
    • You are out with friends and someone offers it to you…long before the current culture of Say no…. you are in love with someone and they are doing drugs and just want you to try….You are angry and going to do it to get back at someone…You have untreated mental problems and someone tells you it will take away your anxiety… A doctor prescribed it because of post-op pain…. someone gives you something to help you sleep… there are many reasons to start taking drugs…Not everyone is strong enough to walk away and it’s unfortunately the weakest ones who believe they are strong enough to just try it.

      Friday, 30 June 2017, 5:12 am
  • Firstly, I want to laud you Tom for giving this person a second chance if indeed you did. The article isn’t clear on that. Unfortunately most of the people I know have someone close to them who is struggling with addiction. Until this is treated as a disease, as well as the myriad of other mental illnesses, there will not be appropriate medical and psychological intervention available. No one scourges a diabetic for being diabetic. So many are quick to judge others without ever understanding the horror of addiction. Addicts get no joy from the drugs that they take. I have talked to many addicts and there a very few who don’t want help. The help isn’t available or if it is, it’s extremely expensive. Everyone expects them to just stop doing drugs. Until you hear their stories, real life, you don’t know what even the smallest amount of a drug can do to a body. That drug can hold them hostage and no fight of their own is strong enough to overcome it.

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 5:54 pm
  • I do feel bad for this woman. She obviously has a problem that she can’t fix on her own. She needs someone to step up to help her. Prayers for her……..

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 5:11 pm
  • This is sad. Ive known her for decades. She lived right by me and we talked often. It is irony though that in school she would tell people that used drugs that they were never going to go any where in life and they were wasting their lives. I knew something was up last time I seen her at a restaurant she was nodding off and swaying side to side in the booth during the day. I hope she finds the strength to fight her addiction and if not for her or the sake of her children.

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 5:02 pm
  • I have NO sympathy for drug addicts ?

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 4:10 pm
    • You are a sock individual. Drug abuse is not a choice.

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 6:08 pm
      • LOL what do you mean drug addiction is NOT A CHOICE… now you are the idiot

        Friday, 30 June 2017, 8:45 am
      • It really is a choice…no one make you try that drug the first or told you to take more than needed. But, she still needs help and prayers!

        Friday, 30 June 2017, 9:18 am
      • how is it not a choice? you have a choice the first time you stick a needle in your arm!

        Saturday, 1 July 2017, 10:41 am
    • I have none myself having a brother who is one and has stolen from me. Just another excuse for crappy behavior IMO.

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 6:18 pm
      • So you have obviously been hurt by an addict, not lookin to heal you but let you know that they really can’t help it. Reach out if you want to go deeper and we can get in touch. Sry ur brother suffered which caused you and your family to suffer, but while he is the one at fault he is not to fully blame

        Thursday, 29 June 2017, 7:33 pm
    • U mean symphony???

      Friday, 30 June 2017, 4:25 am
  • So sad. All that hard work just to relapse again. Surfadude you are absolutely right. We all have an addiction of some kind. Being a mother and grandmother to addicts it is not an easy addiction to get over. I pray every night. So far he has answered. For how much longer I dont know. Prayers for this girl to find the strength to get better

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 4:03 pm
  • I agree with surfadude. For many addiction is very hard ro deal with and overcome. Although, as a mother, I cannot feel bad for someone if they cant fight hard enough to win the battle for their kids sake. Drugs would never be more important than my children and grandchildren. Hopefully she can get through this and come back out on top and stay clean to get her children back. Hernando County needs some serious drug intervention programs for people. She did try. So instead of locking her up and throwing away the key as some uncaring person suggested, lets come together as a communtiy and HELP.

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 3:58 pm
  • Very compassionate article. Drug addiction is not just for degenerates

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 3:51 pm
    • 100% correct. Drug addicts come in all walks of life. Last week my sister’s doctor lost his son to a heroin overdose. The epidemic is real and growing in leaps and bounds.

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 11:48 pm
  • as a fellow human who doesn’t know her……big time prayers! so sad to see someone who obviously gave effort to change things for better fell again, girl please pick yourself back up dust yourself off again and keep fighting and grinding! remember god loves you and hopefully many others! peace and prayers! addiction sucks!! and many of us have been through or are addicted to something, again let’s all pray for her!

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 3:21 pm
    • Well said the woman needs prayer

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 4:52 pm
    • She obviously knows she needs help. It’s a real shame if WE don’t allow her the help she needs. It must be Hell to Lose your family because you feel so helpless to an insidious addiction I pray she gets help and lives to help her children

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 5:16 pm
  • she obviously needs jail too get clean. Losing everything didn’t work. Lock her up and throw away the keys. She has had multiple chances and opportunities but still chooses drugs.

    No symphony for those that say they want help but yet don’t help themselves.

    Thursday, 29 June 2017, 3:17 pm
    • not ‘symphony’ – SYMPATHY. But I totally agree with U.

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 4:08 pm
    • No ‘symphony’ huh?………….dumba$$.

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 4:18 pm
    • Jail won’t help

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 5:08 pm
    • All your posts indicate that you probaly should just lock yourself in your safe place with your rape whistle,and leave society alone.its too dangerous here in the hill for you i guess.

      Thursday, 29 June 2017, 7:01 pm
      • Upvote

        Thursday, 29 June 2017, 8:08 pm
    • She looks EXACTLY like another junkie mother, HEATHER POTTER DEESE!
      She also chooses drugs over her children!
      TRUE SCUM!!!

      Friday, 30 June 2017, 4:30 am
    • you really are an idiot

      Friday, 30 June 2017, 8:43 am

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