RANGELY I The Rangely Town Council met on Tuesday where they again discussed the possibility of the police department carrying the overdose medication Narcan and support for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Fiscal legislation.
The continued discussion of Narcan came following controversial comments made by the Rangely police chief earlier this year regarding the department’s refusal to carry and dispense the medication Narcan. Narcan, also referred to as Naloxone, is a drug designed to counter the effects of an opioid drug overdose with the purpose of giving the person overdosing more time to get to the hospital or wait while EMS arrives.
According to a report provided by Rangely District Hospital, an average of 3.5 opioid overdoses are treated annually. The police department also provided a report stating that Narcan costs $75 per dose, must be kept at room temperature and comes with a two-year shelf life.
A letter from town attorney Dan Wilson included in the board packet states, “No upside for our officers to be involved, and big potential for big downsides if a drug user dies or is permanently rendered brainless, a technical term.” However, Senate Bill 13-014 provides criminal and civil immunity to a non-health care provider acting in good faith by administering Narcan.
Chief Wilczek expressed concerns that there is no clear definition of “good faith,” and Mayor Joseph Nielsen was worried that the town could be liable for police use of Narcan and was uncomfortable with the coverage provided by the state statute. Council member Andy Key suggested that the town educate the public on the role of Narcan and inform them that it can be obtained by anyone at the Rangely pharmacy.
During the public input portion of the meeting former Rio Blanco County Commissioner Jon Hill spoke in support of the council’s reluctance to back the potential Ute Indian Tribe Casino in Dinosaur. Hill expressed skepticism about the number of jobs the casino would provide to non-tribe members as well as concerns about working with the Ute Tribe.
Beth Wiley approached the council to request they consider participating in a Certified Local Government program, which she said can come with tax credits and grants. The program centers around local history preservation and would require the creation of a Historic Preservation Commission.
Town Manager Peter Brixius told the council the Town Hall remodel is approximately 35 percent complete. In order to finish the courtroom the council will begin meeting in the work session room beginning in May. The water treatment plant update is around 65 percent complete, at an estimated cost of $1 million.
After much discussion, the Council tabled a letter of support for legislation pushed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife which would increase permit, license and entrance fees. According to CPW, the fee increase follows a decrease in both hunter activity and severance tax payments. Several council members expressed confusion about how increasing fees would encourage more hunting.