Olmsted Falls couple vows to educate other parents after son dies from heroin overdose

Heroin death leads family to crusade in his memory

OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio - Boxes are being packed, sad memories left behind in a two-story family home in Olmsted Falls. A for sale sign hanging out front.

(Special Section: Heroin use on the rise)

Rob and Carla Brandt are moving, in part, to start elsewhere with what they hope is a life dedicated to their oldest son's memory. Robby Brandt died of a heroin overdose in October 2011.

Robby was 20 years old when his parents say he was introduced to heroin while in boot camp after enlisting in the National Guard. He was stationed at the Marion National Guard Base after boot camp. That's when they realized something wasn't quite right.

Robby's mother, Carla, remembers seeing signs of problems as far back as his freshman year of high school.

"I noticed a bottle of prescription pills disappear really quickly after he had his wisdom teeth removed," said Carla.

Both Rob and Carla are quick to stress that the gateway to drugs as powerful as heroin are marijuana and prescription drugs that start out as harmless experimenting in school.

"There's no such thing as marijuana and beer being harmless. Marijuana can be the start of it all, introduction to the culture, a gateway to heroin," said Carla.

After high school Robby tried a stint in college. Struggling, he came home one day and told his parents he was joining the military."

"He absolutely loved the military," said his father, Rob. "But, when he came home from boot camp, we noticed something wasn't quite right." "He went out with friends he had made right away."

According to Robby's parents, he was soon working for a rental company when he asked to borrow one of their trucks to "pay a traffic ticket" because he didn't have access to a car. That truck, and Robby, never showed up back at work by closing time.

"He went to the east side of Cleveland and that's where he met his dealer and that is where he shot up," said Carla. "He had been clean at that point for 110 days when we dropped him off that morning."

The missing truck led to a phone call the following morning that "no parent should ever get," said Carla.

"Olmsted (police department) had gotten a call from the East Cleveland police and they had found our son in a White Castle parking lot on the east side of Cleveland. He was in the truck with his cell phone in his hand and the keys in the other, so he was slumped over. No parent should ever have to go through this," said Carla

The Brandts are determined to keep Robby's memory and their tragedy in the minds of every parent who has a teen. They have started a foundation and have started a website in his honor. They hope to book speaking engagements in effort to save others from enduring the pain they have had since last October.

"This drug is deadly. When parents get to visit their children on weekends, holidays, I get to go with my husband and my family to the cemetery, weekly, more than weekly. That's where it leads you. It is the devil," said Carla.

For more information and to view the Brandts' message go to:   www.robbysvoice.com

Email:   info@robbysvoice.com

Also find them on Facebook at:   facebook.com/robbysvoice

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