Methadone Clinics: Police, doctors worry patients allowed to drive too soon after treatment

Traffic accidents caused by drivers found to have prescription opioid drugs in their systems or to have just come from a methadone clinic are becoming more prevalent, and Dover, Maine, Police Chief Anthony Colorusso said it’s a serious worry.

“We have a concern with anybody being treated at any medical facility who is given medication and being allowed to drive,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s prudent to give someone a dose of medication that can alter a person’s state of mind and allow them to drive.”

The article can be accessed at: http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110731/GJNEWS_01/707319919/-1/FOSNEWS

Source: Foster’s Daily Democrat – July 31, 2011

Comments

  1. Charles Atkins says:

    This is a comment, I think the officials in Maine raise a very good point about the operation of a motor vehicle by patients on methodone maintenance. Often times these very patients are on prescription drugs such as benzos, and/or other drugs that aren’t prescription. People who operated methodone programs do not have a way to accurately measure the effects of these other drugs on patients, only through urine samples and silva swabs if they are using benzos illictly or cocaine. Most importantly, it is difficult to determine the effects on behavior because methodone recipients are only seen for a short time at clinics when they are dosed or they aren’t seen at all if the patient has take home medication. Solutions to remedy the problem are most difficult, it may be in the hands of the state or others.

    • John Mark Blowen APRN says:

      Difficult situation – Public transportation is very limited, MMTPs are few and far between, fuel is expensive.
      We emphasize to every patient the dangers of impaired reflexes and coordination during the induction phase.
      I think we need to remember that drivers who are NOT in methadone assisted treatment, who are impaired by substance use – or withdrawal – are also a part of the whole background/baseline public safety problem for which we offer treatment.
      In a humane, progressive health care system, people seeking methadone – or Suboxone – assisted treatment of opiate dependence would be admitted to a facility where they could be monitored for the induction period and emerge with their dependence already stabilized and ready to address their addiction in counseling. while continuing on a maintenance dose
      Meanwhile, we do the best we can.
      Incidentally, it’s Dover, NH, not ME.

      • Most people carpool with a volunteer driver and the rest get home long before theyre dose kicks in which usually takes at least 45 minutes

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