Patient accused of shooting heroin into IV line held on $1,000 bail


PITTSFIELD -- A 50-year-old hospital patient who was caught allegedly shooting heroin into his IV line has pleaded not guilty to drug charges.

Kenneth Rathbun, who has been discharged from the hospital, is being held on $1,000 bail in Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction.

A Berkshire Medical Center staffer entered Rathbun's hospital room while he was in the process of shooting what he admitted was heroin into the main IV that went to his neck, according to a Pittsfield police report. Rathbun had several visitors in the room.

When BMC staff and security officers confiscated the alleged drugs and paraphernalia, Rathbun and his visitors gave them "a difficult time," according to a police report. When told the police were on the way, two male visitors took off.

A 30-year-old woman, Jennifer C. Long, who said she was Rathbun's girlfriend and was at the hospital to see him "and pick up some heroin" was also arrested and charged with possession of a class A substance, said police.

Both Long and Rathbun also were wanted on warrants.

Rathbun was at the hospital for an open wound on his arm that police say is "indicative of long-term IV drug use." After being medically cleared by the hospital staff, he was transported to the police station and booked on possession of heroin charges.

On Monday in Central Berkshire District Court, Rathbun pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor drug possession and was held on $1,000 bail by Judge Robert S. Murphy Jr., who cited Rathbun's record of convictions and defaults as well as his drug dependency as reasons to hold the defendant.

Rathbun's warrant was out of Springfield for charges of heroin possession with the intent to distribute, being present where heroin is kept, and conspiracy to violate the drug laws. He is represented by attorney John A. Bernardo and is expected back in court on April 17.

Long was also in court Monday, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor drug possession and was released on her own recognizance. Her warrant was recalled on a July 2012 case in which she allegedly forged and cashed checks that police say were stolen during a break-in of a Maplegrove Drive residence. In that case, which remains pending, she is facing four felonies -- forgery and uttering a false check -- and two misdemeanor counts of larceny under $250.

She is expected back in court with her attorney, Thomas M. Sherman Jr., in May.


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