Family of overdose victim calls on Sask. government to increase addiction support

Shayne Turner died of a drug overdose last year. His family is calling for the Saskatchewan government to do more to combat the addiction crisis. (Submitted by the Turner family - image credit)
Shayne Turner died of a drug overdose last year. His family is calling for the Saskatchewan government to do more to combat the addiction crisis. (Submitted by the Turner family - image credit)

The family of a man who died of a drug overdose says the Saskatchewan government needs to do more to address the addiction crisis.

"My brother was 31 years old, up against a system that is designed to fail him and others, and it has done just that," Ashley Turner said Tuesday about her brother, Shayne.

Shayne Turner was discharged from hospital last year. Ashley said that before he left, he asked to be placed in a rehabilitation program but was denied and sent home.

She said he ingested a fatal dose of fentanyl the next day.

Ashley and other family members were at the legislature Tuesday. She said Shayne's death has had a profound effect on many people.

"Grief and pain is the foundation of who we are as a family. An empty chair, the silence of the phone, and our world is completely still," she said.

"We have spent the last year trying to wrap our heads around a flawed system built on temporary solutions instead of preventable measures."

Opposition Leader Carla Beck asked Premier Scott Moe about the situation during question period Tuesday. Beck said Turner's story "is shared by far too many families in this province, left heartbroken and searching for answers."

Moe agreed that the problem is urgent and said his government is working hard to increase services. That includes more money for 28-day rehabilitation beds, urgent care centres and other services.

Family members say they have also requested a coroner's inquest. They say the chief coroner told them he will take another look at Turner's death and then let them know what, if any, action will be taken.