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Rangely police chief is 'caring' despite blunt remarks about overdose victims

March 14, 2017 Updated: March 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm
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Anti-overdose drug naloxone, also known as Narcan

Colorado Politics relayed the news to you in January that Rangely Police Chief Vince Wilczek had a tough love policy when it comes to the opiate drug overdose antidote Narcan.

According to The Herald Times, Wilczek said told the town council that having officers carrying the antidote was "like giving a drunk a drive home, they're going to get drunk every night.

"Actions have recourses. If there's no recourse for your action, you're going to keep doing it. We shouldn't incur any cost because of drug addicts."

Local business owner, artist and former city council candidate Beth Wiley resurrected the comments at the most recent council meeting, according to The Herald Times.

I tracked down the video of the meeting on the town's Facebook page to get more context.

Town Manager Peter Brixius said the chief felt his words were mischaracterized. (Wilczek apparently meant not saving the lives of drug addicts to teach them a lesson in the best way possible.)

"There was lots of hubbub on Facebook, and people really were concerned," Wiley told the council.

She said the family of an overdose victim she knows was "really hurt by the words that were used."

Brixius tried to explain what happened.

"Chief Wilczek really is a caring guy," Brixius said. "He's been involved in a lot of these issues, and I think generally what he was intending to say was, similar to what the governor of Maine has said, is that it's a tough choice to contribute to the process when you have an antidote potentially and you have a repeated drug user.

"How often do you use the Narcan versus helping them facilitate real change? I think there's where he was headed, but he didn't end up there."

As for the Narcan itself, they're still looking into it.

The council said they spoke of it "briefly" at a workshop, but they're not yet sure the product is safe and that using might leave the town open to liability.

The drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the Colorado legislature passed Senate Bill 14 to ensure such "rescue drugs" are legal and to encourage local governments to use them.

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