Study suggests driving restrictions are not necessary for users of methadone, buprenorphine and LAAM

December 11, 2003

An Australian study in the December issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence indicates similar simulated driving results in controls and clients stabilized on pharmacotherapy for heroin dependence. Michael Lenne, Greg Rumbold, Jenny Redman, and Tom J Triggs from Monash University, Victoria, Australia and Paul Dietze from Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre Inc, Victoria, Australia and the School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Victoria Australia studied effects of three drugs used to maintain opiate dependence. Some jurisdictions restrict driving while maintained on methadone and there is a possibility that these restrictions might be extended to buprenorphine and levo-alpha-acetyl-methodol (LAAM). Such a restriction may limit use of treatment modalities in clients who drive.

Thirty-four patients stabilized on methadone, LAAM, or buprenorphine for at least 3 months and 21 non-drug using volunteers participated in the study. Practice sessions were permitted on the simulator. Two experimental sessions (50-minute simulation) assessed speed, lateral position, steering wheel angle, and response to a secondary task. Before one of the sessions participants drank ethanol to obtain a targeted blood alcohol level (BAL) of 0.05%.

Simulated driving performance did not differ among the opiate treatment subjects or between opiate treatment subjects and controls. However, impairment was observed in all groups after alcohol consumption. Importantly, the effects of alcohol in producing diminished performance were equal in all groups. Results from this study question the need for the imposition of restricted driving standards on stabilized methadone, buprenorphine, and LAAM patients.
For more information, please contact:
Dr Paul Dietze
Senior Research Fellow & VicHealth Public Health Research Fellow
Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre &
Deakin University School of Health Sciences
54-62 Gertrude St
Fitzroy VIC 3065
Tel: +613 8413 8413
Fax: +613 9416 3420

© 2003 Drug and Alcohol Dependence. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

About Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Drug and Alcohol Dependence (, published by Elsevier, is the official journal of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (, the largest and oldest organization for the scientific study of drug dependence.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence publishes original research, scholarly reviews, commentaries, and policy analyses in the area of drug, alcohol and tobacco use and dependence. The hope of its editors is to promote mutual understanding of the many facets of drug abuse to the benefit of all investigators involved in drug and alcohol research, and to facilitate the transfer of scientific findings to successful treatment and prevention practices.

The information contained in Drug and Alcohol Dependence is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and the Journal recommends consultation with your physician or healthcare professional.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. Working in partnership with the global science and health communities, the company publishes more than 1,800 journals and 2,200 new books per year, in addition to offering a suite of innovative electronic products, such as ScienceDirect ( and MD Consult ( bibliographic databases, online reference works and subject specific portals.

Elsevier ( is a global company headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and has offices worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc (, a world-leading publisher and information provider. Operating in the science and medical, legal, education and business-to-business sectors, Reed Elsevier provides high-quality and flexible information solutions to users, with increasing emphasis on the Internet as a means of delivery. Reed Elsevier's ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).


Related Alcohol Consumption Articles from Brightsurf:

Excessive alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic
The full impact of COVID-19 on alcohol use is not yet known, but rates have been rising during the first few months of the pandemic.

Alcohol consumption rises sharply during pandemic shutdown
Anecdotal information has suggested that people are buying and consuming more alcohol during the pandemic shutdown.

Associations of alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced passing out with risk of dementia
The risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers was examined in this observational study with more than 131,000 adults.

Sweet coolers a gateway to increased alcohol consumption
Sweetened alcoholic beverages can promote harmful alcohol consumption among teens, new University of Guelph research finds.

The influence of alcohol consumption among cohabitating partners
Research has linked a partner's or spouse's drinking with changes in alcohol-related behaviors, but few studies have considered only cohabiting relationships.

Does alcohol consumption have an effect on arthritis?
Several previous studies have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption is linked with less severe disease and better quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but a new Arthritis Care & Research study suggests that this might not be because drinking alcohol is beneficial.

Is alcohol consumption more helpful than harmful? It depends on your age
Studies of health effects of alcohol consumption may underestimate the risks of imbibing, particularly for younger people, according to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer ignored by women most at risk
Middle aged women in Australia aren't getting the message about the proven link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, at a time when more are drinking while cancer rates in their age bracket are increasing, according to a new study.

How much is too much? Even moderate alcohol consumption is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation
Excessive alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF), but what are the effects of moderate and mild consumption on AF?

Moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with fewer hospitalizations
A study of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of I.R.C.C.S.

Read More: Alcohol Consumption News and Alcohol Consumption Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to