A teacher at Eagleswood Township Elementary School in Ocean County is charged with snorting morphine off his desk in front of students, which has been confirmed to WOBM News by Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer who referenced a complaint filed by the New Jersey State Police.

Investigators say 43-year old Michael Palladino had allegedly ground up morphine tablets and was using a pen to snort them, according to the State Police complaint.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said his office will conduct a full investigation into the incident with the cooperation of the New Jersey State Police.

Palladino is charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, a third-degree crime, and official misconduct, a more serious second-degree offense alleging Palladino used his public position for her personal benefit, according to a Dec. 3 complaint by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and passed along to WOBM News by OCPO spokesperson Bryan Huntenburg.

“(Palladino) within the jurisdiction of this court, engage in official misconduct as a public servant by committing an act of related to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions with purpose to obtain a benefit for himself, knowing that such act was committed in an unauthorized manner, specifically, by ingesting a controlled dangerous substance through his nostril, at hisdesk in a classroom during school hours in the presence of another teacher and students,” the complaint said.

He was found to be in violation of a second degree crime of possessing a controlled dangerous substance including three beige colored half-pills which were imprinted with "ABG-60" and identified as morphine sulfate extended release, that was found in a plastic zip lock bag in the top right desk drawer of his desk in the elementary school.

Palladino is also in violation of a third degree crime which is intent to use drug paraphernalia to ingest a controlled dangerous substance specifically by being in possession of one homemade, hollow, cut, white, Bic pen containing an unknown residue that was used to ingest CDS nasally.

He also is charges with a disorderly persons offense.

The incident being investigated reportedly took place on December 3 and Palladino was charged a short time later.

Three morphine tablets were found in a plastic bag in Palladino’s desk, along with a Bic pen he used like a straw.

Eagleswood’s superintendent of schools, Deborah Snyder, has not yet responded to a request for comment on the incident to WOBM News.

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