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Damage that the needle's done: Judge talks about heroin horrors seen from bench

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) - Many people who overdose from heroin in Hamilton County, either because of drug abuse or a crime they committed to support their habit, end up in front of Judge Ted Berry.

Berry calls what he sees in his courtroom, "the damage that the needle has done."

"I've lost 14 addicts that have been in front of me at one time or another, either they're in the pipeline as a defendant or they are on probation," Berry said.


Berry recently posted on social media about the challenges trying to get people the help they need as a judge. He found out that portalets in the downtown area had to be chained closed by construction workers last year because of addicts dying inside.

The judge said, "What would happen is the construction workers would come in in the morning and they would want to use the restroom or use the portalet. They go and it's locked and they break it open and they found four addicts dead."

Berry signs search warrants for police to bust suspected dealers. Wednesday, March 2, Cincinnati police announced a major heroin arrest: two suspects, drugs with the street value of $30,000, and a combined total of more than $130,000 in seized assets and cash.

Captain Maurice Robinson commands the Special Investigation Section of the Cincinnati Police Department.

He said, "That's one less supply of heroin that's not available and money that's not available funding different purchases of heroin that ends up in the streets."

CPD also has officers assigned regionally to help.

"I have two people assigned to the Hamilton County Coalition Task Force and also two people assigned to the Regional Enforcement Narcotics Unit," said Captain Robinson.

For Berry, the horrors stay with him... families begging him to lock up an addict they love, and the unsettling feeling of knowing some will still die, despite his best efforts.

"I can't save your life. All I can do is prolong it by locking you up for as long as I can lock you up to save you from yourself... and give you a chance," said Judge Berry.

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