'Stop people from dying': B.C. mother who lost son to fentanyl opens treatment centre

A mother whose 20-year-old son died of a fentanyl overdose is now opening a treatment centre in Penticton to help others struggling with addiction.

The Brandon Jansen Recovery Centre is set to open in Penticton by January of 2018

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

A Coquitlam, B.C., mother who lost her son to a fentanyl overdose is opening a new recovery centre in Penticton to give others the treatment she feels her child lacked.

Brandon Jansen. 20. died of a fentanyl overdose in March 2016 while at the Sunshine Coast Health Centre in Powell River.

His mother, Michelle Jansen, said she spent more than $200,000 to privately fund treatments for Brandon at 11 different centres prior to his death.

"It was a daunting experience. It was most frustrating," said Jansen.

"The experience was horrific. What I found putting him in all these various treatment centres was that he wasn't getting the level of care. He wasn't getting better."

'Our centre is going to be different'

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

She said she struggled to find Brandon long-term care and counselling. She also said he was routinely discharged for relapsing while in treatment.

Brandon Jansen, in a photo taken the day before he died of an overdose at the Sunshine Coast Health Centre in Powell River, B.C. (Michelle Jansen)

With her background as a business owner, Jansen is now planning to open the Brandon Jansen Recovery Centre in the "peaceful and serene" South Okanagan to offer others struggling with drug addiction another option.

The centre, she says, will offer one-on-one counselling, intensive group therapy and a component focused on nutrition and conditioning.

She also said as clients reach the end of their recovery, they will be partnered with an addictions counsellor who will maintain weekly sessions. Patients will also not be discharged for relapsing as she calls it "a very real part of recovery."

"Our centres are going to be different," she said.

Physicians, counsellors already in place

Jansen said the Penticton treatment centre will take up to 10 patients at a time. It will be a private paid facility. However, there will a portion of fees put aside to help subsidize beds for those who can't afford care.

The centre has already been staffed with addictions physicians, trauma addictions counsellors, a psychologist, a cook and experienced counsellors who have struggled with addiction themselves.

"My whole intention for the Brandon Jansen Recovery Centres going forward is that everything is done correctly, that we don't miss anything," she said.

"I really want these centres to provide the first opportunity for someone to put their life back together and to stop people from dying."

The Penticton recovery centre is on track to open in January of 2018 with plans for further locations in other parts of B.C.

With files from CBC's Daybreak South.

About the Author

Jaimie Kehler

Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email jaimie.kehler@cbc.ca.