Greg Berg: 'Heroin got its claws in her and wouldn't let go' - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Father: 'Heroin got its claws in her and wouldn't let go'

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HUDSON, Wis. (KMSP) -

The father of a young Hudson woman who survived a heroin overdose the same weekend "Glee" star Cory Monteith died says his daughter tried to fight addiction, but her relapse last week is one she won't recover from.

Days after Monteith died, Ellie told FOX 9 News she was going to rehab and intended to turn her life around because she realized how fortunate she was to survive her overdose.

"I'm definitely pretty lucky," she told FOX 9 News. "Not a lot of people who do relapse on heroin make it."

Although the 20-year-old was aware of the odds, her father said the addictive opiate "got its claws in her and wouldn't let go." On Thursday, Greg Berg sat down with FOX 9 News in the same spot where his daughter spoke just three months ago, giving voice to his grief and warning others of the dangers.

"Both you and I, Scott, thought this was fitting -- and possibly send a message to other people fighting with this or thinking about using drugs," Greg Berg said. "There is a better approach, so this is where we should do this interview."

When Ellie was growing up, Berg never imagined his daughter would one day become a heroin addict.

"She was trying so hard to beat this," he said. "She was in Hazelden. The last two times, she wanted to go in. She wanted to live life and have fun."

Berg said his daughter completed her rehabilitation program and was clean until last Monday.

"They found her Monday night, about 8 p.m., at her sober house -- at her sober house in St. Paul -- dead of a drug overdose," he lamented.

Ellie's death has devastated the family, and the loss is a heavy one for those who were in support groups with her.

"This is the third close friend I've lost in a little over 10 months," John Hicks said. "I've never seen a 20-year-old, beautiful girl in a casket before, and I don't want to see another one."

Hicks is also a recovering addict, and he was in a fellowship support group with Ellie after she left Hazelden. He's been clean for 11 months so far -- the longest stretch since he was 15. He knows addiction is difficult to beat, but after losing Ellie, his roommate and another friend, he wants everyone to know sobriety is the way to go.

"It feels fantastic to be clean," he assured.

For the Bergs, they hope others who know people struggling with addiction will speak up to help people stay on the right track.

"She was doing everything right," Berg said. "The draw was just too strong for her."

Berg said they tried to support their daughter by getting her into sober houses and the rehabilitation programs, but he said she was distancing herself from those groups and her sober friends in the weeks leading up to her death. During that time, she insisted to everyone she was doing fine.

"To the parents, this is a tough one. Make sure you tell your children you love them," he recommended through tears. "My last words to my daughter were, 'Ellie, I love you.' And I do miss her, and so does my wife, Judy."

Berg also said he hopes those who know dealers will call police and get them off the streets so that drug users will have no choice to but to stay clean even when the cravings come to call.

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