British Columbia

B.C. Coroners Service announces inquest into Brandon Jansen's overdose death

The B.C. Coroners Service has announced a public inquest into the death of Brandon Jansen. The 20 year-old died from a fentanyl overdose while a resident at a substance-abuse treatment centre in Powell River on March 7, 2016.

Coroner's office also forming a special drug-death investigation team to look into overdose deaths in B.C.

Michelle Jansen and her son Brandon the day before he died of a fentanyl overdose. (Michelle Jansen)

The B.C. Coroners Service has announced a public inquest into the death of Brandon Jansen. 

The 20 year-old died from a fentanyl overdose while a resident at a substance-abuse treatment centre in Powell River on March 7, 2016.

The coroner's office says Brandon's overdose is a representative example of the 555 illicit drug deaths in B.C. this year.

"There are a number of commonalities in Brandon's death that I think really enhance the conversation around what can be done to prevent these deaths," said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe.

"​Clearly, with 555 illicit drug overdose deaths already this years, these drug deaths are something of significant concern."

Inquest starts Jan.16, 2017

The coroner's office launches public inquests when a death is a particular concern or part of a dangerous trend. The inquest into Brandon's death will begin Jan. 16, 2017.

B.C.'s chief coroner, Lisa Lapointe, announced a public inquest into the death of Brandon Jansen. (Tristan Le Rudulier/CBC)

Brandon's mother, Michelle Jansen, has been vocal and open about her son's drug addictions, treatments and overdose.

"The coroner's office understands we are in a health care crisis. It's an epidemic," said Jansen. "I am glad they chose my son's death ... because it's an example of how an average, suburban teenager lost his life."

Focusing on treatment centres

Jansen is hopeful the inquest will shed some light on treatment options and treatment centres in British Columbia. Jansen spent over $200,000 for Brandon to attend private facilities, yet her son still lost his life.

"Those private facilities are deeply flawed and the government needs to put rules and regulations in place because, for the average family, coming up with the money to put your loved one into treatment, they give you all these promises," said Jansen.

"They tell you all these wonderful kind of treatments your child is going to receive until your loved one arrives and the promises dry up."

Coroner Michael Egilson will oversee the inquest and five members of the public will be chosen as the jury. The jury has the ability to make recommendations on how similar deaths can be prevented.

Drug death investigation team launched

The coroner's office also announced Tuesday the formation of a a specialized coroners service drug-death investigation team.

It says the team will provide enhanced investigations into accidental illicit drug deaths in B.C. and report back within 90 days.

Its work will be funded as part of the $10 million announced by Premier Christy Clark last month to support efforts to combat the growing number of illicit drug deaths.