My son is a marijuana victim. Marijuana killed his soul and ruined his brain. His suicide note makes that very clear. Andy Zorn was a happy, resourceful kid with big dreams. He realized some of them, working and saving and planning his future. He served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with 82nd Airborne. He earned an AA degree at community college after his discharge in 2004.
But Andy had experimented with marijuana and alcohol at age 14. Perhaps that is when a foundation was laid for his not being tolerant of the substance as an adult. By age 25 he was exhibiting signs of psychosis and fearing suicide. The six years that followed were a nightmare of calls to suicide help lines resulting in involuntary stays in county behavioral health hospitals, court ordered mental health treatment, loss of his right to own a weapon due to the danger he was to himself. He lost his ability to hold a job, continue in school, to keep his home. The Veterans Administration had also treated him and of course suspected PTSD, but Andy never agreed with that. He had no symptoms of PTSD, mainly just severe depression and the diagnosed severe Cannabis Use Disorder.
Andy was arrested in Arizona for marijuana possession, one of the best things that happened to him in those years because it afforded him the incentive to be clean and sober in a court diversion program opening a window in his addicted mind and allowing him a shot at recovery and re-entry into a productive life. He reconnected with family and friends he had isolated from in his addiction. Sadly though, when the drug testing stopped, the marijuana addiction took him right back.
Andy easily obtained an Arizona medical marijuana card, claiming pain in a leg that had once been broken. That allowed him access to a regular supply of potent product that owned his mind. I spoke with the marijuana dispensary manager about Andy’s death and his severe addiction. I did that with the hope she would help the next person like Andy recognize the harms and risks of the product. But she said she would not because it is not addictive, and Andy must have been using another substance. Andy was not. His toxicology report proves that.
As long as this marijuana industry is allowed to operate in this reckless way, there will be more marijuana victims. I offer Andy’s Story with the dream that his words in his suicide note – “My soul is already dead. Marijuana killed my soul + ruined my brain.” – will resonate with someone who cares enough to help save the next victims. Please help stop this insane rush to build this industry marketing a harmful and risky substance, promoting its use, misleading young people into believing it is harmless. We victims are being left in its wake.
Andy’s Mom, Sally Schindel, Arizona