Man journeys Route 1 on foot to raise awareness of opioid crisis

HOULTON, Maine - It's quite a long way from Key West, Florida, to Fort Kent, Maine, even by car.

So it's pretty incredible that Brett Bramble and his crew have nearly completed that route on foot. Bramble lost his sister four years ago to a drug overdose.

He says he didn't realize how many people were also suffering from loss due to drug overdose, so he wanted to do something to raise awareness.

"I didn't know what to do, but I knew that walking, I knew that taking action would lead to something and maybe inspire other people to take action," said Bramble. "That's one of our main messages, is to try to inspire people to take action, whether it's as simple as educating yourself and others, the people you love, about this crisis because its real, it's crazy, we've walked here from Key West, Florida, our destination is Fort Kent, Maine, and we've seen at 3 miles per hour the pain in this country and there's too much of it."

Bramble says that during his first walk two years ago, he walked from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and says he had great success as far as engaging people and talking about the opioid crisis.

His hope was to have greater success with that on this walk.

"You know, 9 times out of 10, the people that we talk to, we end up crying with on the side of the road because they've lost somebody or they know somebody who's really struggling, or they're struggling themselves. And while we cry and we have pain together we also have hope together. We share hope and hugs and realize that together, things may get better."

Bramble says the money raised from this walk is going to his nonprofit in an effort to help people in recovery from addiction.

"I started a non-profit called freedom to grow and the money that we raise on this walk is going to that nonprofit. We're trying to buy land and start a farm where people can come and work on the mental health side of recovery. You can learn more about that at freedomtogrowretreatorg. You can also follow the walk there. While we're out here in Maine, if you see us on the road just pull over say hello, we could use a cold water or a snack or just a smile and a hug. We welcome it all. If you want to walk with us, come on get you're walking shoes and lace up."

Bramble adds that if communities come together, they can fight this crisis and he's sharing that message along every mile of Route 1.