4 treatment centres to open in memory of B.C. teen who died of an overdose

4 treatment centres to open in memory of B.C. teen who died of an overdose

A treatment centre for addictions is opening in Penticton after the first one fell through

March 7 is a date Michelle Jansen is looking forward to for the first time since her son’s death on that day in 2016.

That celebration centres around the opening of the first of four Brandon Jansen Memorial Recovery Centres, this one in the Lower Mainland.

READ MORE: Penticton rehab centre opened in memory of son

A second location in Penticton is expected to begin helping clients starting the first week of March followed by ones in Osoyoos and Vernon.

“This is something that Brandon would have to have loved to have seen and loved to have been a part of,” said Jansen, who had scheduled a press conference today (Wednesday) at her Coquitlam office. “After Brandon passed, of the 12 (recovery) centres he attended, there were so many people who contacted me saying, ‘Brandon would sit for hours and talk to me,’ and ‘he would do whatever he could to help me.’

“Brandon couldn’t understand why he couldn’t get over this fentanyl addition. He just couldn’t understand why he couldn’t turn this off.”

Michelle recalled her son telling her just hours before his death at a Powell River rehab centre, “It keeps calling my name.”

That was just two days before his 21st birthday when someone had dropped off some drugs at the centre according to the messages she found on his cell phone she still has.

What Michelle learned at the cost of her son’s life and $200,000, was recovery centres in their current form were not working, specifically with the emergence of the fentanyl crisis.

“I have parents and loved ones reaching out to me every week sometimes a couple times a week saying they’ve lost yet another one,” she said. “We just need to save lives, people continue to die. When I woke up this morning there were two more families who had lost their loved ones overnight.”

READ MORE: Recovery centre operator said neighbours bought property ‘in haste’

Her first attempt at opening a 12-bed facility on Juniper Drive in Penticton, which she announced in November, collapsed around her.

She and her realtor in the pending transaction to purchase the $1.4 million property say it was bought out from under them, reportedly by the four neighbours of the property.

“I’m so surprised that the seller took the risk of jeopardizing our sales contract but what I need the public to know, that there are those who still run with the stigma and the ignorance.”

But she added the ensuing publicity regarding the matter turned out to be a “blessing in disguise” after a number of people, including a Penticton man reached out to help her.

“This really restores my faith in humanity and I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that initial Penticton property wasn’t meant to be,” said Jansen. “It shows that there are a lot of people – more and more as this crisis continues – who are understanding, who have changed their mindset, who truly want to help and that’s awesome.”

She has since met with Premier John Horgan and last week talked to Judy Darcy, Mental Health and Addictions minister.

READ MORE: Penticton rehab centre opened in memory of son

According to Jansen, the minister was particularly interested in using the Brandon Jansen Memorial Recovery Centre as a template for future governance of such facilities, something Jansen believes is sadly lacking at present.

“Had there been the proper regulations in place like the ones I will have in Penticton, 1,000 per cent Brandon would still be alive,” she said previously.

Her new facilities will be six-bed treatment centres.

“We offer a very customized form of treatment, we don’t have a one size fits all,” she said. “You can’t have facility that have 40 clients and have them in there for 30, 60 or 90 days and confidently say, they’re going to be in a good state of recovery when the leave, what’s that? It’s a rooming house.”

She added the treatment options she will provide are based on the latest clinical research, in particular the fact fentanyl addiction is an “physiological brain disease” requiring modifying care practices.

“For me, what opening these centres is, is an opportunity to save more lives,” said Jansen. “And you know what? That was the path we were meant to be on, for Brandon’s sake.”

Penticton man steps in to help with recovery centre

Compassion for a mother who lost her son to a drug overdose was not the only reason a Penticton man offered his home for her to use as a treatment centre.

John, who asked his real name not be used to protect the privacy of the house location, said it was more the opposition Michelle Jansen faced when she tried to buy a Juniper Drive house for that purpose late last year.

“That response (from neighbours) probably shocked Michelle and it shocked me too, and I think that’s what motivated me to make to the call to her,” said John, whose family moved from the west side property a month ago to facilitate the centre. “This ‘not in my backyard’ is not a good enough reason. That really doesn’t carry a lot of weight compared to what these people are trying to do.

“When I heard what happened, I just thought that’s unacceptable. Yes there’s stigma and that they really just needed somebody to open a door.”

He has not told all of his neighbours about the decision and doesn’t think they will notice much of a difference.

“Let’s put it on the scoreboard first and then argue the merits. You can’t argue the merits because of the address, that’s not good enough,” he said.

As it turned out John’s offer was not the only one Jansen received and as a result similar centres are planned for the near future in Osoyoos and Vernon.

“What it (Juniper Drive property) allowed for was a teachable moment for the public in regards to stigma,” said Jansen. “Secondly there were a lot of property owners who reached out to me saying that was terrible what they (opponents) did. This has really been a blessing.”

Leasing the property from John has also left her with the necessary capital to invest in more centres.

“I decided on Vernon and Osoyoos because, like Penticton, they are outside the big city so there’s more serenity, more tranquility,” she said.

For his part, John, who has two children of his own, can empathize with Jansen’s heart-breaking loss.

“It’s that ‘there but the grace of God go I,’ and I’m blessed that I haven’t had the experience that Michelle has had to live through’” he said. “I know how important this is to her. This is an opportunity to save someone’s life, even if it’s just one, that’s enough and we know it’s going to have a much bigger impact than that.”

Just Posted

“Think on These Things” is a column written by retired Creston pastor Ian Cotton. (File photo)
Think on These Things: Everyone is Invited

“Tell them there is healing, cleansing for every soul…”

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Student-nurse Kendra Waterstreet administers the Pfizer vaccine to Litia Fleming at the Waneta Plaza vaccination clinic in the old Zellers buiding. Photo: Jim Bailey
Trail vaccination clinic readies for adults age 40+

B.C.’s state of emergency is extended through the end of day on May 25

Kerry Reed
West Kootenay Fishing Report: Spring fishing, the bite is on!!

Anglers having great results on Kootenay Lake and Columbia River

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Tim Miller is selling his 76-foot steel bridge from his property in Burton, B.C. The bridge originates from the railway in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
For sale: a 100-ton 19th century bridge by Arrow Lakes

Bridge is in Burton, B.C. and advertised for $40,000

Most Read