Efforts by Doug MacKenzie to spread education and awareness about drug use in the Cowichan Valley are picking up steam.
MacKenzie, owner of Options Okanagan Treatment Center which has two locations in Kelowna and Salmon Arm, is organizing a free forum on drug-use issues that will be open to the public on Oct. 8 at the Oceanfront Cowichan Bay hotel that will include guest speakers and panel discussions.
MacKenzie, a former addict himself who has been clean and sober for 27 years, is also offering an $18,000 package at his treatment centres that will provide six weeks of drug treatment and assistance to someone from Duncan with drug problems who can’t afford help.
He said he’s still receiving applications from people with drug addictions for the package, and expects someone to be chosen by the end of October.
But MacKenzie said other groups and organizations dealing with drug issues have taken note of his efforts and have agreed to get involved as well.
He said the Vancouver-based Together We Can alcohol and drug treatment centre, which operates a second-stage recovery centre in Victoria, has agreed to donate a month at the centre for the person chosen for assistance at MacKenzie’s centres once the treatment has been completed.
MacKenzie also said Sagewood Recovery Womens’ Centre in Maple Ridge has also jumped on the bandwagon and is offering a similar package to what’s he’s offering to a woman with drug problems.
He said the Sunshine Coast Health Centre in Powell River is also preparing a treatment package, with details to be released at a later date.
MacKenzie said his initiative is beginning to turn into “a real neat thing.”
“One of the goals of the event on Oct. 8 is to bring all the service providers and other organizations together in one place to let people know what they are doing,” he said.
“The drug crisis is getting worse and with the government agencies getting so clogged up these days, it’s great that so many in the private sector are willing to get together and do something.”
MacKenzie said he’s now looking for a videographer to film the forum so the service providers can put it on their websites to give people a sense of what groups and organizations are out there for people to access.
MacKenzie said anyone with drug or alcohol addictions who needs help and would like to be the one picked for the $18,000 in treatment, or friends and families of those who need help, can write about why the assistance is needed in an email to email@example.com
He said a panel will assess each email and determine who is the best candidate for the funding. For more information, call Mackenzie at 250-864-6068.