Just over a year after a Regina father of two died from an overdose — on the same day he was discharged from hospital for treatment of an earlier overdose — the province's chief coroner has released recommendations to the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
The family of 31-year-old Shayne Turner had previously called for a coroner's inquest into what led up to his death, and says Thursday's announcement is disappointing.
"We definitely are feeling defeated as a family," said Ashley Turner, the man's younger sister, in response to the inquest being denied.
Shayne Turner was rushed to Regina General Hospital after being found unconscious in an Emerald Park hotel on Nov. 7, 2021, his mother says.
According to documents provided to his family and obtained by CBC News, Turner was admitted to hospital as an overdose patient.
The documents show that after medical staff stabilized him overnight, he asked the next day to be put into a detox program. But with no detox beds available, he was discharged with pamphlets on addictions services and a cab voucher.
Hours later, he ingested a fatal amount of fentanyl.
"He wanted to live, he wanted to be here — but he had no help," said Terri McKeever, Turner's mother. "The system failed us."
Last November, Turner's loved ones went to the Saskatchewan Legislature, where they and the Opposition NDP called for more support for people with addictions, and for an inquest into Turner's death.
In a Thursday news release, the province said that late last year, the chief coroner reopened the investigation into Turner's death "at the request of the family and met with them to discuss next steps."
However, rather than calling an inquest, Chief Coroner Clive Weighill instead released two recommendations for the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
The first is for the health authority to consider a formal protocol between Regina's emergency departments and detox services, allowing emergency patients to have immediate access to detox programs.
The second is for the SHA to give naloxone kits to people treated for drug toxicity or addiction when they're released from care.
"I believe it was more timely for us to give the recommendations," Weighill told reporters after his suggestions were formally released on Thursday.