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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Jun 1;102(1-3):162-5. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.01.010. Epub 2009 Feb 27.

Effectiveness of very low-cost contingency management in a community adolescent treatment program.

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Chemical Dependency Program, Linden Oaks Hospital at Edward, Naperville, IL 60540, USA.


Controlled studies have shown that motivational incentives reduce drug use, but community implementation has been limited. This observational study examines the effect of a contingency management (CM) program on urine, attendance, and cost measures in a community substance abuse treatment program for adolescents. Treatment included elements of 12-step facilitation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational enhancement. All urine tests included cannabinoids, opioids, benzodiazepines, cocaine, and amphetamines. Patients with negative urines or perfect attendance earned chances to draw weekly from a bag for prizes of varying value, and the number of draws increased with each consecutive negative urine test. Data were collected for those patients (age 12-18) treated immediately before (n=83) and after (n=264) the CM program was introduced to the treatment center, and positive urine rates were compared using chi-square tests. Patients treated with the CM program had lower rates of urines positive for opioids (p<0.005) and cocaine (p<0.05), and non-significantly but consistently lower rates of urines positive for all other drug classes. Altogether, the proportion of urines positive for any drug decreased from 33.3% to 23.4% (p<0.01). Pre- and post-CM comparisons of attendance reveal lower daily attendance rates but longer retention in treatment. Expenses were minimal at $0.39 per patient per day. These data yield additional evidence for the feasibility and effectiveness of CM methods in community adolescent treatment programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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