Deer killers and life savers make the news this week

THUMBS DOWN to the wasteful and senseless killing of four deer over the last week and a half in central Maine, leading the Maine Warden Service to offer a $2,500 reward for information that leads to a conviction.

The first deer, a doe pregnant with twins, was found April 22 in Chesterville. Later, three more does, in Leeds, Livermore Falls and Livermore, respectively, were found. Investigators believe the same person or persons were involved in each shooting.

When deer are killed illegally for their meat, at least some sense can be made of it. But all of these deer were shot through the spine and left to rot.

It is reckless to shoot a deer at night and in the offseason, when people in rural areas may not take the same precautions they would during hunting season.

It is also cruel to the animal, and bad for the deer population. These deer were just coming off a long winter, and their current and potentially future offspring would have helped grow Maine’s valuable and vulnerable deer population.

The hunting community quickly condemned the killings, and the strong reaction can only help push others to come forward with information necessary to solve a case like this.

Anyone with information can anonymously call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-ALERTUS (253-7887).

THUMBS UP to the Maine State Police trooper whose quick action last week helped save the life of a man who was overdosing on heroin.

Trooper Douglas Cropper found the man unconscious during a traffic stop on Interstate 295 in Portland. Along with a nurse who also stopped at the scene, Cropper resuscitated the man, who was then administered the anti-overdose drug naloxone by rescue workers.

Naloxone, which under the brand name Narcan is given as a nasal spray, works by blocking opioid receptors. It has been a source of controversy, but its success in saving lives is clear.

The medicine is now available to first responders, law enforcement and family members of addicts. The Legislature is considering proposals to expand access to friends, who may be more likely to be around when an overdose occurs.

Gov. Paul LePage has opposed this proposal, saying that the presence of naloxone gives addicts a safety net, making it more likely they’ll overdose.

That shows a poor understanding of addiction. Mainers fighting opiate addiction — a number that is unfortunately growing — deserve the second chance naloxone can provide.

Cropper said the man, whose name was not released, had a job and a nice car. It was, however, the second time in a week he had overdosed.

That fact will turn off a lot of readers. But people fighting addiction will backslide. State policies need to support them as they fight their illness, not let them die for the lack of access to a safe, effective medication.

The man told Cropper that he needed “a kick in the head” to get him off drugs. Fortunately, because of naloxone, and Cropper’s quick work, the overdose was just a “kick in the head,” and not something much worse.

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