Brody Van Velze of Chilliwack hopes it will help people to hear his story. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Story of triumph for one Chilliwack youth

Youth treatment centre for substance use disorders is going to make a difference

Brody Van Velze of Chilliwack has been clean and sober for more than 600 days.

There’s a healthy glow about him. His smile is warm and genuine. The nineteen-year-old has a full-time job working as a plumbing apprentice, and plans to become a firefighter.

He wants to give back now. Sharing his story with his hometown of Chilliwack is part of that.

“I still have a long road ahead of me. But I know I will be OK.”

Upon hearing that a 20-bed youth treatment centre was going to be built next year in Chilliwack, he said it was precisely what was needed in this town.

He should know.

As a middle school kid growing up in Chilliwack, he felt he had a lot to prove.

He started drinking at 14, mostly at house parties and hockey tournaments. Later it shifted to smoking pot, then taking steroids and cocaine.

At his worst, he stopped going to school. He was kicked out of the Hockey Academy at school.

“I was in my own little world,” Van Velze said.

Then he suffered a hockey injury at 16, which led to a doctor writing a prescription for OxyContin.

“That’s when I got addicted to opioids.”

He’d manipulate everyone, including those closest to him, to get money to use.

“I turned to crime to pay for my addiction.”

He found himself in a bad way, spiralling downward quickly.

“That’s when things started to get super-bad. I pushed away my friends and started hanging out with the wrong kind of people.”

Fortunately those who cared about him were not willing to let him fall very far.

“I was one of the lucky ones because I had, and still have, some amazing people in my life who didn’t give up on me.”

He credits the unwavering support of his mom, as well as his hockey coach and school counsellor, who were instrumental in getting him into detox, and eventually residential treatment in New Westminster, at Last Door.

It was necessary to go with out-of-town for residential treatment.

“Eventually I had to come back home.”

Since he’s been home in Chilliwack, he thinks about how lucky he is all the time. He’s proud to say he hasn’t had a drop of alcohol or used drugs since June 2016.

But he’s heard about teens who have overdosed in Chilliwack, and close friends who’ve died. Many of the youth are hurting.

“I’ve had six or seven close friends die,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

Van Velze jumped at the chance to speak to The Progress soon after the new youth treatment centre was announced for Chilliwack, saying if it could help just one person who reads about his story, it would be a “great accomplishment.”

“I also think about how I can give back to my community. Maybe sharing my experience will help those building the new centre to find the right mix of programs and services for kids in need,” he said.

Chilliwack is getting a new specialized addiction treatment centre for youth, with supports like one-on-one counselling, recreation and life skills training. Fraser Health is opening what it calls the “first-of-its-kind” residential facility exclusively aimed at youth 13 to 18 years old, with a 20-bed centre at 45456 Yale Rd, just past Kerr Road.

The regional facility will serve youth across Fraser Health, with treatment programs tailored to meet their specific needs.

A youth treatment centre is “exactly” what Chilliwack needs, Van Velze said, “support close to home, and the people who love and care about you.”

 

Brody Van Velze of Chilliwack hopes it will help people to hear his story. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Surrey Save-On-Foods to support Cloverdale Community Kitchen’s Christmas Hamper program

Farquhar hopes locals will donate food, toys, gift cards, or warm clothing, such as mittens and toques, at the Clayton Heights store Nov. 23

‘It felt good’: Milestone cross-country win for Fleetwood Park’s Jaiveer Tiwana

After winning the boys provincial championship, he’ll compete for a national title on Nov. 30

Fairs and markets aplenty in Delta this holiday season

Looking for artisan goods, baked treats and hand-crafted gifts? We’ve got you covered.

UPDATE: ‘Hold and secure’ at Elgin Park Secondary lifted

‘No evidence located to substantiate a threat,’ says Surrey RCMP

Former Cloverdale youth pastor guilty of one count of sexual assault

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Samuel Emerson not guilty of majority of charges

B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Union ‘not at all’ optimistic that transit strike will resolve before full work stoppage

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Black Press career fair happening now at Langley Events Centre

Find your dream job at the Black Press career fair

What’s happening: week of Nov. 14

Events and community listings for North Delta

Most Read