A free family forum, presented by Langley interventionist Andy Bhatti is happening April 14 at the Fleetwood Community Centre.

Interventionist co-hosting family forum focused on addiction and mental health

Andy Bhatti promoting free, day-long event happening April 14 at Fleetwood Community Centre

Former heroin addict Andy Bhatti believes the opioid crisis in Metro Vancouver has reached the epidemic stage.

“Addiction in Langley and Surrey is super bad,” said Bhatti, who left a life of drugs and crime at age 27, and is now a fully certified interventionist.

The wave of opioid addiction that has washed over the region is the motivation behind the Langley resident presenting an event that will educate families on addiction and mental health.

“How Addiction Affects Families” will be presented by six experts from around the world, including former NHL goaltender Clint Malarchuk, and will be held Saturday, April 14 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Fleetwood Community Centre.

Pre-registration will help Bhatti determine the number of people attending. Register online by filling out the contact form at andybhatti.com/contact/.

Bhatti will be co-hosting this one-day public platform with The Cabin Treatment Centre, which he describes as “one of the most reputable drug and alcohol treatment rehabilitation organizations in Asia.”

The event is free and open to anyone, with a particular focus on family and friends who have a loved one that struggles with addiction.

“Treatment for the addict is typically where the work begins and ends, failing to acknowledge the feelings and pain of those around them, such as family and friends,” according to addictions expert and fellow interventionist, Geri Bemister, who will be speaking at the conference.

This conference was put together with the hopes that family and friends will be educated on enabling, trauma, and how the cycle of addictions impacts every member.

“In the therapeutic recovery industry, it is understood that in one way or another, everybody needs to heal,” Bhatti said.

Malarchuck will be speaking on mental health and addictions, and sharing his story on how he survived addiction, trauma and eventually healing as a result of his on-ice life threatening infamous goaltending injury, and his 2008 suicide attempt.

Bhatti knows first hand how addiction can crush a person’s soul. He lived on the streets of Aldergrove and the Downtown Eastside as a teenager, thieving, dealing and running from police to feed his $1,200 a day heroin addiction.

Today, he’s dedicated to helping others and was driven to give back to the community by offering this free conference to parents and families facing the plague of addiction.

The motivation behind the conference is simple.

“We want to be able to give families the opportunity to learn about addiction for free,” Bhatti explained. “Mike (Miller) and I were talking and we thought, ‘How do we give back to our community?’ So between myself, Mike Miller and the Cabin Treatment Center, we thought, ‘Let’s host this event, educate families on addiction, what is co-dependency, what is enabling, and how you can deal with an addict.’”

Before moving to Thailand, Miller worked with the Fraser Health Authority, delivering outpatient treatment. He was born in Vancouver and lived in the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island all of his life.

“We have several Canadians on staff here and some are in recovery from addiction themselves, including me, so we have a connection and an interest in helping Canadians suffering with addiction,” Miller said.

“The addiction problem there was huge when I left and it’s only gotten worse with the fentanyl/opioid crisis. There are some resources available for people but clearly not enough.”

Miller said recovery that starts with education and treatment.

“A lot of families are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. They inadvertently enable the addiction when they are trying to support their loved ones,” Miller said. “They are desperate for information and also for a solution.”

He said the conference offers much-needed information for free, “because the community needs it and it’s the right thing to do.”

“The intention is that attendees will take away accurate evidence based upon information, the knowledge that they aren’t alone, awareness of appropriate treatment and avenues to access it and most of all hope.”

The schedule:

Opiates addictions doctor and psychiatrist Lacresha Hall will speak from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m..

From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Mike Miller, a clinical lead at The Cabin Treatment Center in Thailand, will run a family program focusing on bullying and how it affects someone’s life long-term.

Then, starting at 2:45 p.m. Bemister will educate families about co-dependency and how to deal with an addict.

Bhatti and Malarchuk will wrap up the conference.

Professional workbooks will be distributed to the first 150 families in attendance.

Just Posted

Retired football kicker wanted play hockey as a kid, but ‘it just wasn’t in the budget’

Surrey-raised Paul McCallum now backs KidSport and its annual fundraiser set for Friday

Surrey Students NOW slate plans SOGI info session

Event aims to to ‘address concerns and misinformation about the resource being used in our schools’

Surrey Eagles to retire Humboldt victim’s number Friday

Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 will be raised to the rafters prior to BCHL game against Prince George

Surrey First vows to create ‘Mayor’s Youth Council’ if elected

Youth ages 16 to 24 would ‘weigh in’ on decisions regarding everything from affordable housing and transit, to recreation programs and public safety

Ottawa area residents take stock of tornado rubble as Ford tours the ruins

A tornado on Friday afternoon tore roofs off of homes, overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau, Que.

Trudeau urges leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example at UN tribute

Peace summit in New York marks 100th birthday of former South African president

Senate seats filled in B.C., Saskatchewan

Canada’s newest senators are the first woman to lead the RCMP and a Cree Metis businessman

Newfoundland’s popular ‘merb’ys’ calendar is back

The calendar of burly, bearded mermen posing against scenic backdrops for charity returns

Less than half of Metro Vancouverites feel they can influence government: study

SFU researchers suggest most people believe elected officials don’t care

Cap rent increases at inflation rate, B.C. task force recommends

MLAs say drop annual increase that would allow 4.5% rise next year

School, church, old mining site make Heritage BC’s first ‘watch list’

The list includes sites in need of protection to maintain B.C.’s culture and history

5 to start your day

Maple Ridge students send books to fire-destroyed school, teen stabbed in Surrey park and more

Yowza! Twerk, emoji and facepalm are added to Scrabble dictionary, OK?

Merriam-Webster has announced 300 new words have been added to the spelling game

Most Read