I am writing in response to the March 15 letter “Restrict driving.”
First, I think we all should know that methadone is given to block opiate receptors in the brain and when given in a stable dose, does not cause intoxication or a “high.”
Those receiving methadone treatment are self-referred individuals who gradually are weaned off methadone over a long period of time. Each client is assessed by a nurse on every visit before the methadone is given.
Currently, there is no policy to restrict driving after receiving methadone at the local clinic and, as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner student, I do not believe we need one. Studies have shown that regularly administered “long-term methadone therapy does not cause psychomotor or cognitive impairment” (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Plus, we must remember that there are plenty of irresponsible drivers (who do not take methadone) causing accidents.
Accidents occur due to many reasons. We cannot look at one incident and punish every person for one person’s recklessness.
It is unfair that an innocent man lost his life, but imposing driving restrictions on those who seek treatment for drug addiction will only lead to fewer individuals getting treatment.