Teacher Writes Letter to Students Telling of Son's Overdose Death


“On Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, at 1:37 a.m., my 24-year-old son, Josh Brabender, passed away from a heroin overdose,” writes Todd Brabender, teacher at Holy Family Catholic Church. Brabender is writing to his eighth grade students, hoping to communicate a crucial lesson through a painful circumstance.

Josh Brabender’s heroin overdose caused him to stop breathing, and although emergency personnel were able to get his heart beating again, by that point his brain had already been without oxygen for too long. He was declared brain dead, so his family had to make the excruciating decision to take him off life support.

Brabender knows this is difficult for eight graders to hear, but he believes that it is necessary. He explains in his letter to his students that his son Josh was once an innocent eight grader, free from the gravity of things as severe as a heroin overdose.

Brabender describes his son’s drug addiction in vivid terms – “like a python… wrapping itself around his neck until it eventually strangled the life out of him.”

If there is even a slight chance he can help someone else avoid a drug overdose – help a family keep their son or daughter – then this letter is worth sharing, he says.

Attorneys at Koffel Brininger Nesbitt have seen firsthand the tragedy heroin can wreak on individuals and their families. With heroin deaths reaching epidemic proportions in Ohio, we are taking steps to further our impact on the community in this way. Our latest effort in the drug prevention and treatment arena is hiring retired Judge Scott VanDerKarr, the man responsible for starting the Franklin County Drug Court in 2009 and one of the country’s first Heroin Courts in 2010.

Our goal is to emulate the resources of the drug court program, and help individuals with addiction even before they are arrested. For more information, visit our Preventative Law Practice.