Public forum Thursday in Parksville: It’s time for a drugs talk

Event organized to bring info, experience to public

Michelle Jansen lost her son to a fentanyl overdose in March of this year.

On Thursday, her surviving son will be in Parksville, hoping to reach young people as part of a Drug Education Presentation that is open to all parents, students and community members.

The presentation is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre. The event was put together by School District 69, the District 69 Parents’ Advisory Committee, Dr. Hugh Fletcher, Oceaside RCMP and Discovery Youth and Family Substance Use Services.

After the death of her son, Michelle started the Brandon Jansen Foundation in his name.

“We are losing too many youth to this drug,” Michelle says on the foundation’s Facebook page. “In 2016, we have been averaging one-two people per day. (Premier) Christy Clark has created a task force to fight this epidemic. However, this is not enough. Tougher laws to hold drug dealers criminally accountable, more beds and resources made available to the public.”

The Jansen failily will be represented at the presentation Thursday by Michelle’s son Nick, who not only lost his brother this year to an overdose, he lost his girlfriend in the same manner.

“It is real, people are losing their lives,” said School District 69 assistant superintendent Gillian Wilson. “We’re hoping parents can have conversations with their children to support healthy decision making.”

Wilson said the school district believes in “multiple places to get information.”

RCMP have given talks in area schools and will continue to do so, Wilson said. Thursday’s presentation will include Nick Jansen, VIHA medical officer of health Dr. Paul Hasselback, local physician Dr. Hugh Fletcher and others.

“We know youth experiment with drugs and alcohol — it’s what youth do,” said Wilson. “We really want to focus on not just the shock factor. It’s about factual information and where to go in our community to get support.”

There is no admission charge for the event on Thursday.