It’s Not Just Pot Anymore

Andy Bauer RIP

This speech was originally given at a Voices of Victims event.

Hi. My name is Kira Russo. I’m here in honor of my younger son, Andy Bauer, who in September 2018 ended his own life. Andy was an amazing young man. Like many others describe their loved ones, he was very intelligent and loving. He got his first job when he was 15, and he loved to take his family and friends out for dinner or coffee. He bought his first car, a bright orange Ford Mustang when he was 16. Andy was really generous with his time, too. He was always willing to help people with car or house projects. One of the best parts about Andy was his sense of humor. I couldn’t understand at that time how my son—a young man with everything going for him could take his own life.

Prior to 2018, Andy used some of the heavier drugs for about a half a year, and it became clear to him that those drugs were harming him. One of those drugs is known for depleting serotonin in the brain. This can cause depression. So Andy switched gears. Pot—just pot—became his drug of choice. He used it in the hopes that it would relieve his anxiety and depression. Most addicts in recovery know that our drugs of choice often turn on us. They often create the symptoms we hope they will relieve. He needed more to achieve the same effect. In his addiction, he fell away from the man he was Created to Be. He became dishonest, restless, irritable, and discontented. In other words, the drug stopped working.

After Andy died, his brother and I found out that he had been dabbing and making budder—narcotic-strength cannabis products. In fact, we found out that his whole life revolved around marijuana. Like other addicts, when he put the first substance in his body, he had no more choices after that. The drug would dictate his life. His brother and I found out after he passed that he had been arrested for possession of paraphernalia and had experienced hallucinations. He had distanced himself from us because we made our concerns about his drug use clear to him.

After Andy’s suicide, a woman asked me if he used marijuana. Even though I was a bit perplexed, I confirmed that he did. She suggested I speak to Sally Schindel, who shared with me her experience about her son—also Andy. At that point, I hadn’t heard the terms dabbing, wax, budder, or shatter. I now know that there is a strong relationship between these narcotic-strength cannabis products and the decline in mental health in adolescents. After I talked with Sally, it all made sense. Andy couldn’t tell the true from the false. In that state, he made the ultimate sacrifice.

There are victims of marijuana. We share our stories to shed light about the increasing number of tragedies associated with narcotic-strength cannabis products. It’s not just pot anymore.

Kira Russo

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  1. Sally Schindel


    Dear Kira,

    Our sons, our Andys, will always be with us, forever in our hearts.

    Thank you for sharing your precious son with our Moms Strong family. So many of us have found healing from our grief within this group of loving parents.

    Our sharing helps other families recognize the harms and risks of this drug, truths that must be recognized to help others. Thank you Kira.

  2. Reply

    Dear Kira, my son, Johnny, also died by suicide on 11/20/19 from the delusion caused by dabbing and psychosis. Sally has been a great source of strength, comfort, and encouragement on my journey. We started a nonprofit 501c3 to educate parents and teens about the dangers of today’s high-THC marijuana on adolescent brain development and suicide. Please join us at and our Facebook group My phone number is on the website, and I would be happy to talk with you anytime.

  3. Hazel Bright


    Dear Kira,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Our son, Kevin, has a very similar story. Sending love and support to you and your family.
    Hazel Bright

  4. Jill Ramsey


    Dear Kira, I’m incredibly sorry for you and many other families who did not deserve these tragedies. I share your Andy’s story and other stories with young families in hopes your stories will save another life. We must spread the word. We must empower our children to say no because pot today is designed to harm our children. I’m very verbal about all pot being bad because even medicinally it’s sending a message of “approval” into mainstream America. I support old-fashioned remedies for health and wellness, not pot. Thank you for sharing, you’re not alone and you’re loved by many hearts who understand your sadness.

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