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New youth addiction services launched in South Georgian Bay

Brad’s Place offers in-person, online or telephone outpatient sessions for youth suffering from an addiction; ‘We’re always ensuring his values,’ says president of organization’s namesake
Brad Buckner died from a drug addiction at the age of 25 in March 2010. His family has recently launched Brad's Place Addiction Treatment of Southern Georgian Bay to help youth suffering from addiction.

When Melanie Lopes’ stepbrother Brad Buckner died from a drug addiction at the age of 25, Lopes knew she needed to do something to prevent others from falling victim to the same fate.

In April of this year, Brad’s Place Addiction Treatment of Southern Georgian Bay launched its services to the public, aiming to bring addiction recovery treatment for teenagers, young adults and their families to the Collingwood area.

Lopes serves as the president of the organization’s board of directors, which was incorporated in 2020, and officially launched its outpatient services this year.

“We are fairly new. This has been a project 13 years in the making,” Lopes told CollingwoodToday.

Buckner died March 14, 2010 due to a drug addiction.

“Prior to his passing, he said he wanted to get some help, but he wasn’t able to find something geared to his age group,” said Lopes. “After he passed, seeing the pain my family was in, we decided we had to do something and make a difference up here.”

Brad’s Place offers in-person, online or telephone personal or group outpatient sessions from skilled counsellors in Simcoe County for teenagers and youth who may be suffering from addiction.

As of now, Lopes says the organization supports about five individuals since launching in April, with more calls coming in every day. The organization runs through a pay-for-service funding model, but that could change over time depending on the organization’s fundraising efforts and grant application outcomes.

“We also would never turn anyone away due to their financial situation. If someone was dedicated and wanted treatment, we would speak with the board to look at funding,” said Lopes, adding that the organization’s board of directors also includes other members of Buckner’s family.

Overall, Lopes differentiates Brad’s Place from other local organizations offering addiction services.

“We’re different. We go to the client. We meet them where they’re comfortable. All of our treatment plans are geared individually,” said Lopes.

Lopes says that long-term, the organization hopes to grow to eventually offer a local youth addiction treatment facility. They are in the process of fundraising for the future capital project.

“We’d like to be able to offer family counselling, group counselling, building up their life skills,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is to have that residential facility that can offer that.”

When Lopes looks back to remember Buckner, she says she hopes he would be happy to know his family has taken the torch to advocate for improved local services.

“We’re always ensuring his values prior to his addiction,” she said. “I think he would be extremely proud of the steps we’ve taken and beaming with pride knowing that although it was a sad and heartbreaking situation that occurred, he’s the one that ultimately brought this forward to help others.”

The organization has vacancies on their board of directors they are looking to fill. For more information or to reach out, visit the Brad’s Place website here.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen is an experienced journalist working for Village Media since 2018, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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