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Addict Behav. 2002 Nov-Dec;27(6):887-910.

Voucher-based incentives. A substance abuse treatment innovation.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, 38 Fletcher Place, Burlington, VT 05464, USA.


In this report we provide an overview of research on the voucher-based incentives approach to substance abuse treatment. This approach was originally developed as a novel method for improving retention and increasing cocaine abstinence among cocaine-dependent outpatients. The efficacy of vouchers for those purposes is now well established, and plans are underway to move the intervention into effectiveness testing in community clinics. The use of vouchers also has been extended to the treatment of alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and opioid dependence. Particularly noteworthy is that vouchers hold promise as an efficacious intervention with special populations of substance abusers, including pregnant and recently postpartum women, adolescents, and those with serious mental illness. Overall, voucher-based incentives hold promise as an innovative treatment intervention that has efficacy across a wide range of substance abuse problems and populations.

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