After a drug overdose eight years ago, Jordon MacLean decided to turn his life around.

"I faced death. I'm still here for a reason. What reason is that? It's to help others in the situation that I've been in, because I've got compassion. I know how it feels," he said.

MacLean now works at a transitional house for men in Ottawa, and is an advocate for the health and safety of drug users and people trying to get clean.

He's also an organizer with the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa, and runs a drop-in for the Drug Users Advocacy League of Ottawa.

It's a career and a way of life that keeps him busy seven days a week, looking out for his clients.

'Everyone deserves dignity'

"I need to walk the path with them, and have them understand that there are people that care, because everyone's a human being," he said. "Everyone deserves dignity."

MacLean is sharing his story at this year's Human Library, organized by CBC Ottawa and the Ottawa Public Library.

Members of the public can sign up to talk to human library "books", who are people from a wide variety of backgrounds, professions, and communities.

The event takes place at three library branches across Ottawa on Feb. 27.