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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2017 Jan;72:97-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2016.07.001. Epub 2016 Jul 19.

Substance Abuse Treatment Patients in Housing Programs Respond to Contingency Management Interventions.

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Calhoun Cardiology Center - Behavioral Health, Department of Medicine, UCONN Health. Electronic address:
Calhoun Cardiology Center - Behavioral Health, Department of Medicine, UCONN Health.


Use of homeless and transitional housing (e.g., recovery homes) programs can be associated with success in substance abuse treatment, perhaps because many of these programs encourage or mandate sobriety. In this study, we examined whether contingency management (CM) protocols that use tangible incentives for submission of drug-free specimens or other specific behaviors are effective for treatment-seeking substance abusers whose behavior may also be shaped by housing programs. Of 355 participants in randomized trials of CM, 56 (16%) reported using transitional housing during the 12-week treatment period. Main and interaction effects of housing status and treatment condition were evaluated for the primary substance abuse treatment outcomes: a) longest duration of abstinence from alcohol, cocaine, and opioids, b) percentage of samples submitted that were negative for these substances, and c) treatment retention. After controlling for demographic and clinical characteristics, those who accessed housing programs submitted a higher percentage of negative samples (75%) compared to those who did not access housing programs (67%). Housing status groups did not differ in terms of longest duration of abstinence (accessed housing: M=3.1 weeks, SE=0.6; did not access housing: M=3.9 weeks, SE=0.3) or retention in substance abuse treatment (accessed housing: M=6.4 weeks, SE=0.6; did not access housing: M=6.6 weeks, SE=0.3). Regardless of housing status, CM was associated with longer durations of abstinence and treatment retention. No interactive effects of housing and treatment condition were observed (p>.05). Results suggest that those who accessed housing programs during substance abuse treatment benefit from CM to a comparable degree as their peers who did not use such programs. These effects suggest that CM remains appropriate for those accessing housing in community-based programs.


Homelessness; Incentives; Non-permanent housing; Recovery housing; Sober house; Transitional housing; Unstable housing

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