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Former Judge Richard Baumgartner tells his story of drug use through video

12:59 PM, Aug 5, 2011   |    comments
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Members of the Metropolitan Drug Commission marked a milestone on Thursday night by celebrating 25 years of fighting the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. 

As shown at the event, drug addiction can happen to anyone.

A criminal court judge for more than a decade, Richard Baumgartner was a family face at community function focused on the prevention of crime and drugs.

However, the shocking revelation of his own addiction forced him to step down from the bench. 

For the most part he has been unseen and silent since then, but on Thursday night Baumgartner told his story to a crowd of hundreds by video and he watched with that crowd.

Like so many, Baumgartner said he started using pain pills for legitimate medical reasons. While he did stop several times, he only started again. 

Baumgartner said his need for pain medications became consuming. He worried about running out of the pills and where to get them. 

Baumgartner said those around him could tell there was trouble, they just didn't tell him and he wished they had. 

He said by the time he quit the drugs it was too late. An investigation eventually lead to drug charges. He pleaded guilty to official misconduct. 

In March, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood sentenced Baumgartner to two years of judicial diversion. 

Since then, Baumgartner said he has gone through treatment and feels good. One day, he may work again in a way he said benefits the community he loves. 

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