I started the Brandon Jansen Foundation in memory of my 20-year-old son who died of an accidental Fentanyl (opiate) overdose in March 2016 while in a well-known treatment facility. Though the loss was heartbreaking, I knew I had to do something to help prevent this heartbreak from happening to other parents and families in communities across this province and country.
On average, we are losing 3+ people daily in British Columbia and an opioid epidemic has been declared. Education and awareness are key amidst this serious health care crisis. We need to teach children and adults that using opiates will often lead to death and that ‘yes’ it can happen to them or someone they know! ‘Don’t do drugs’ takes on a whole new meaning during this Fentanyl crisis, as it has been found at all levels of drug distribution from marijuana to heroin.
It should be mandatory that the curriculum of all CPR and First Aid courses include training in the administration of Narcan Nasal Spray, which reverses an opioid overdose. A change in laws, clinical practice guidelines, clinical tools, textbooks, and education are desperately needed. The drug dealers and society as a whole, need to be held accountable; these are our children, parents and loved ones who are dying. Most importantly, we need to create affordable treatment facilities for families of those who have been taken by this drug.
The aim of the Brandon Jansen Foundation is to create a safe environment for people to connect through education and awareness; to provide a place for people to reach out for help or to share their stories. My hope is that we can stop this crisis and that through change, awareness and action we will save lives using evidence-based practice, program evaluation, research, and education.