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One Man's Addiction Awareness Trek Across The U.S. For His Sister

By Paul Gaita 05/06/16

After losing his sister to an overdose, Brett Bramble has begun a 3,200 mile trek in her memory to bring attention to the opiate epidemic and naloxone.

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One Man's Addiction Awareness Trek Across The U.S For His Sister
Photo viaShutterstock

Among the more than 47,000 people who died from a fatal drug overdose in 2014 was Atlanta resident Brittany Bramble—a mother of three who succumbed to a variety of drugs, including heroin on March 15 of that year.

This March, two years to the date of her death, her brother, Brett Bramble, launched a walk across the United States to commemorate her passing and to bring attention to both the opioid epidemic in America and naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. With his dog Domino and a stroller loaded with gear and supplies, Bramble departed from Delaware on March 13 to begin a projected eight-month, 3,200-mile walk that will end at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. He is also maintaining a chronicle of his trip via his website and Facebook page.

Bramble, who experienced his own struggle with drugs in his teens and early twenties, was extremely close to his younger sister, Brittany. Though devastated by her death, he began exploring ways to share her story as a means of raising awareness about opioid addiction and overdose prevention. But after a year of fundraising, speeches and even a rappel down the side of a hotel to spread the word, Bramble felt that he hadn’t done enough to memorialize his sister. He struck upon the idea of walking across the country after the first anniversary of Brittany’s death, and spent the next year researching and preparing for the journey while also raising funds through a GoFundMe page.

Visitors to Bramble’s website can follow the progress of his trip through daily posts. The people he’s encountered along the way have been supportive: “I’ve had people that are struggling with addiction contact me and tell me that I am motivating them to stay clean and sober,” he said. “I had no idea that would happen. I had no idea I would be that impactful on somebody.”

That feedback has helped to fuel his cause, but it’s the memory of his sister that has kept Bramble on his path to spread awareness. “It’s a tough time for me,” he told People in March. “Brittany would have turned 30 on February 27. I think about her every minute of every day."

Check out this three-minute clip explaining Brett's cause:

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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