Join the conversation and join the fight to tackle and defeat addiction [Letter]

Brandon's Conversation Tree at Harford Mall aims to raise awareness of heroin abuse in Harford County.
Brandon's Conversation Tree at Harford Mall aims to raise awareness of heroin abuse in Harford County. (BRYNA ZUMER | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)


Those of us working to reduce and reverse the heroin and other substance use epidemics often say that coordinated activities involving the business, philanthropic, government, education, faith-based and non-profit communities are essential if we are to save lives and families.


Such groups, coupled with thoughtful media coverage, are vital for the kind of "all hands on deck" strategy that is necessary to tackle and defeat addiction.

That's why the Brandon's Conversation Tree public awareness campaign at Harford Mall is so valuable and noteworthy. Sponsored by The Albert P. Close Foundation, the tree displays photos of 29 Harford County residents who tragically lost their lives to addiction. The tree also displays Valentine-like hearts with hopeful words and anti-drug messages that all children and adults can learn from.

Thank you Aegis and your excellent reporter Bryna Zumer for your coverage of Brandon's Conversation Tree. Grateful, heartfelt appreciation to The Albert P. Close Foundation and its president Carol Frontera for your pro-active public education campaign that will help us all understand better that addiction is a chronic brain disease and not a moral failing.

The Landbeck family likewise has earned our respect for stepping forward in the midst of its loss of son Maxwell and helping, teaching other families how to fend off similar adversity.

Thank you Harford Mall for providing the space and accessibility for the tree. My wife Carol and I will join with others in seeing it and reflecting on how we can more effectively and humanely prevent and treat the scourge of heroin and opioid addiction.

Don Mathis

Director of Alumni Services

Father Martin's Ashley

Havre de Grace