British Columbia

Coroner's inquest into Brandon Jansen's fentanyl-related death begins

The BC Coroners Service's public inquest into the death of Brandon Jansen began Monday, nearly a year after the 20-year-old's fentanyl-related overdose.

The 20-year-old died from a drug overdose at a treatment centre in Powell River last March

Brandon Jansen's mother took this photo the day before her 20-year-old son died. (Michelle Jansen)

The BC Coroners Service's public inquest into the death of Brandon Jansen began Monday, nearly a year after the 20-year-old died.

Jansen died from a fentanyl-related overdose at a substance-abuse treatment centre in Powell River on March 7, 2016.

Jansen's mother, Michelle, said she dropped her son off at the Sunshine Coast Medical Centre for treatment for his drug addiction. 

The next morning, she couldn't get a hold of him and knew something was wrong.

One of the key issues at the inquest was how the drugs got into the facility. Michelle Jansen has said it's unclear if a piece of luggage brought into the centre was checked.

Melanie Jordan, the CEO of the Sunshine Coast Medical Centre, said the facility's policy is to check every bag.

"Those claims come out of a police report," Jordan said outside the inquest. "We're going to hear info from the police reports ... and we'll find out about the luggage in more detail."

Jordan is expected to testify later this week.

Inquest called last fall

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe announced the inquest last November. The office launches inquests when a death is part of a dangerous trend or is particularly concerning.

It said Jansen's overdose was an example of the hundreds of illicit drug deaths in the province in 2016.

Although Brandon Jansen is the focus of this inquest, the hope is to find answers on how to deal with B.C.'s opioid overdose crisis more broadly.

Michelle Jansen said she hopes the inquest can spark change.

"This is very important exercise but if those recommendations aren't implemented and just sit on the back burner and people continue to die why did we do this?" she said outside the inquest.

She said her son had tried to kick his opioid addiction nearly a dozen times.

Coroner Michael Egilson is overseeing the inquest. The five-member jury will make recommendations on how to prevent similar overdose deaths.

The inquest runs until the end of January.