Local group trying to bring new youth mental health facility to Kelowna - InfoNews

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Local group trying to bring new youth mental health facility to Kelowna

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April 14, 2016 - 8:30 AM

KELOWNA - A local mother whose son overdosed on pure fentanyl will be speaking at an upcoming forum aimed at helping parents better understand addiction.

Helen Jennens’ son Tyler Leinweber became addicted to painkillers after he was prescribed OxyContin for an injury. He eventually found himself unable to get the pills his body needed so he turned to heroin.

In February he purchased what he thought was heroin, but it turned out to be a much cheaper, and more potent, drug – fentanyl. Her other son Rian also died after overdosing on prescription drugs in 2011.

Jennens has become one of many faces for the fentanyl threat and on the evening of Thursday, April 14, she will be speaking at a B.C. Integrated Youth Services Initiative forum at the Coast Capri in Kelowna.

Jennens will talk about what her own family went through and will be available afterwards to meet with others who are going through similar struggles.

The evening will conclude with a presentation and review of a final draft of a proposal to the province for funding for an integrated health clinic focused on youth mental health.

According to spokesperson Traci Cooke, the centre will be a one-stop, drop-in style facility for youth and their families.

“We’re seeing so much that isn’t working,” Cooke says. “We made it through the first round. Now we’re up against the next round.”

The B.C. Integrated Youth Services Initiative is a provincial program which seeks to improve access to mental health, substance use and primary care for youth and young adults across B.C.

For more information on the initiative, visit the SharedCare website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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