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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Minor Hockey Day in Trail - for web
Greater Trail minor hockey maintains tradition in time of no-play pandemic

GTMHA recognizing its teams in Trail Times feature (photos pre-pandemic)

Tim Schewe
DriveSmart: Police Powers

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement.

Coby Reid helped rescue this bobcat from where it had frozen to the train tracks. Photo: Coby Reid
Bobcat deliverer shares details from Kootenay train track rescue

Coby Reid helped rescue a bobcat that was frozen to train tracks near Waneta bridge

Pictured here are part of the Oxide Leaching crew on Dec. 31, 1944. L-R: Reg Bilkey, Mary Rohacks, Mabel Schiavon, Bill Saitherswaite, Bobby Mason held by Carmela Demeo, Jean Stainton, Skid Marsters, Ingrid “Atty” Atkinson, Andy Adie, and Jessie Woodridge. Photo: Trail Historical Society
Trail Blazers: Pillars of strength – our women

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Most Read