James Bonanno is one of two New Rochelle school district employees on a Methadone Maintenance Program. His primary job is to act as courier transporting supplies among school buildings in New Rochelle. As such, he is often driving a school vehicle under the influence of methadone, as well as illegal drugs like marijuana, sources say.
In the above video, Bonanno is seen driving a school district van to the Westchester County methadone clinic on Sickles Avenue in New Rochelle. After leaving the methadone clinic he drives onto North Avenue, then Lockwood and on to the buildings and grounds offices on Grove Street near Webster Avenue. Setting aside that Bonanno is doing all of this between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. during a workday which begins at 7 a.m., should the school district allow heroin addicts enrolled in methadone maintenance programs to operate district vehicles?
There is a wide range of conflicting literature on the topic.
Effects of Methadone on Driving: The drug manufacturer cautions that methadone may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, and that the sedative effects of the drug may be enhanced by concurrent use of other CNS depressants, including alcohol. In healthy, non-methadone using volunteers, single doses of methadone will impair driving ability. Numerous European studies of long-term methadone maintenance patients have shown that appropriately administered methadone does not cause significant psychomotor or cognitive impairment when administered regularly and when the subject abstains from all other drugs. However, in the majority of cases, patients did not exhibit stable abstinence from drug use and had an increased occurrence of simultaneous psychiatric/neurotic disorders or personality disturbances which, by themselves, could be a reason to doubt their driving ability. In Germany, the Joint Advisory Council for Traffic Medicine at the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing and the Federal Ministry for Health issued the following recommendation: Heroin addicts treated with methadone are generally not fit to drive; however, these patients may be considered fit to drive if they show a period of methadone substitution for more than a year; stable psychosocial integration; no evidence of the consumption of additional psychotropic substances; evidence of a subject’s readiness to feel responsible for himself/herself; therapy compliance; and no evidence of serious personality defects.
In New York State, people registered in methadone maintenance programs are allowed to drive while on methadone and cannot be arrested for DUI unless they are actually intoxicated not simply because they have methadone in their blood stream.
As the NHTSA points out, although long-term methadone maintenance patients like Bonanno do not exhibit significant psychomotor or cognitive impairment if they abstain from all other drugs this is not typically the case. In the majority of cases, "patients did not exhibit stable abstinence from drug use and had an increased occurrence of simultaneous psychiatric/neurotic disorders or personality disturbances which, by themselves, could be a reason to doubt their driving ability."
Bonanno is no exception. Sources tell Talk of the Sound that Bonanno has a daily marijuana habit. Bonanno and another employee leave Grove Street on most work days around 11:30 a.m. to get high. They purchase a cigar often at the Citgo gas station at the corner of Webster and Washington, and use that to make a "blunt", a cigar where the tobacco leaves are replaced with marijuana.
Bonanno is known to exhibit erratic behavior and is often found "sleeping" at Grove Street.
It was Bonanno, according to numerous sources, that painted the words "Bob Cox Sleeps with the Fishes" on his father's boat which is stored at the school district yard on Cliff Street in New Rochelle. At the time of the "fishes" incident, the boat was stored outside on a side of the property leased by Pro Fuel, an oil company. The boat has since been moved and is now stored inside the storage building at Cliff Street, on property leased by the City School District of New Rochelle.
Bonanno's father, Vincent "Jimmy" Bonanno, is a buildings and grounds supervisor whose long list of corrupt practices have been documented on Talk of the Sound.