Family and friends of a Winnipeg man who died from an overdose have been waiting for this moment since last summer.
Manitoba’s chief medical examiner has called for an inquest into the death of Lee Earnshaw.
Lee Earnshaw, a father of four and commercial fisherman, passed away at the age of 42 after being turned away from the Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine Clinic and Main Street Project several times.
Lee’s sister, Carol Packer, previously told Global News he struggled with addiction throughout the years, but was able to break the cycle on his own. But when Lee moved to Manitoba in 2017, he suffered a relapse.
His body was found in a fishing tent on the banks of the Seine River.
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Lee’s family requested the inquest in hopes it would help dismantle barriers that prevent others from getting the help they need.
After hearing the inquest was granted, Packer told 680 CJOB she felt tremendously relieved and hopeful.
“The whole process … has been difficult,” she said. “But we’ve always had an understanding of what the goal was and what the message was that we had to get across in order for the chief medical examiner to make this decision and to move forward with with an inquest, and that was that it’s in the public’s best interest to be informed.”
Marion Willis of St. Boniface Street Links told 680 CJOB the fault shouldn’t be placed on the institutions that turned him away.
“We do not have a system in care of care for people that are struggling with addiction,” she said.
“The system is overwhelmed, it’s overburdened, it’s under-resourced and clearly the system is not able to meet the needs. We need a very comprehensive strategy, a plan — a well-coordinated plan — that can be executed from the ground up, and that’s how we’re going to save lives.”
As of now, details about the date, time or location of the inquest have yet to be released.
— with files from Marney Blunt