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www.wmfd.com - A large crowd gathered in the Ontario Middle School auditorium Thursday for the special presentation Robby's Voice Break the Silence. }}" />

Robby's Voice raises awareness about drug addiction

Story By: Brigitte Coles



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  Original Published: 9/27/2013

A large crowd gathered in the Ontario Middle School auditorium Thursday for the special presentation Robby's Voice Break the Silence.

 The free event hosted by the Ontario Substance Abuse Prevention Program, Catalyst Life Services and Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services was aimed at promoting awareness about drug addiction.

Featured speaker Robert Brandt, talked about losing his 20-year-old son, Private Robert Brandt IV, to a heroin overdose on Oct. 21, 2011.

 "My son was an amazing kid from a everyday regular family. The one difference is that he had an addiction issue," Brandt said.

 "It started when he had his wisdom teeth removed, he was prescribed pain killers and became addicted. After high school he spent one year in college and joined the military," Brandt said.

"He came home on break and was introduced to heroin. At that point he became addicted to heroin and went through rehab. We got him clean for about 120 days. Three weeks before his deployment to Afghanistan he had a relapse and died from an accidential overdose,"Brandt said.

During the presentation Brandt focused on three key pieces of information to raise awareness and educate schools, parents and organizations about the issue of addiction.

"First we have to look at how big a problem this is and why we should be concerned about it. Second we share our story and it really comes into fruition in real life. And third we discuss what to do to address the issue of addiction," Brandt said.

Brandt started Robby's Voice over a year ago as a community based organization. In 2010 he published his book titled "DIG IT."

There were several community speakers at the event from Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services, Catalyst Life Services, CACY, Mansfield Division of Police Forensic Science Laboratory and Ontario Police Officer Adam Gongwer, who serves as the Resource Officer, D.A.R.E. and A.L.I.C.E. Instructor with Ontario Schools.

Along with the speakers, booths featuring community partners were set up before the program.

For more information about Robby's Voice visit www.robbysvoice.com.

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