Doug MacKenzie wants to give something back to Duncan.
MacKenzie, owner of Options Okanagan Treatment Center which has two locations in Kelowna and Salmon Arm, grew up in Duncan and acknowledged that he had a troublesome youth and developed problems with addictions.
But he said he’s been clean and sober for 27 years and has helped many other people at his private treatment centres overcome their drug and alcohol addictions over the years.
MacKenzie said he has become aware of drug issues, particularly around the use of fentanyl, in his hometown of Duncan and the Cowichan Valley through newspaper stories.
He decided he will use his connections and expertise to assist and help spread awareness of the issue in the Valley.
MacKenzie said, with the assistance of a number of local individuals and organizations, he will host a free forum that will be open to the public on Oct. 8 at the Oceanfront Cowichan Bay hotel that will include guest speakers and panel discussions.
He said information on drug treatment programs, both private and government-sponsored, will be made available to participants at the forum, scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.
Noting that drug programs can sometimes be expensive, MacKenzie said he will offer an $18,000 package, that will provide six weeks of drug treatment and assistance, to someone from Duncan with drug problems who can’t afford help.
“No one ever told me when I was growing up in Duncan how I could get help to recover from my addictions,” MacKenzie said.
“I want to raise awareness on these issues on all levels in Duncan. I will be speaking at a number of school and other venues in the area in the days leading up to the forum.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
He said a panel will assess each email and determine who is the best candidate for the funding.
“I plan on making this an annual thing,” MacKenzie said.
For more information, call Mackenzie at 250-864-6068.