Naltrexone provides excellent opioid blockade, but its clinical utility is limited because opioid-dependent patients typically refuse it. An injectable suspension of naltrexone for extended release (XR-NTX) was recently approved by the FDA for treatment of opioid dependence. XR-NTX treatment may require concurrent behavioral intervention to maximize adherence and effectiveness, thus we sought to evaluate employment-based reinforcement as a method of improving adherence to XR-NTX in opiate dependent adults.
Opioid-dependent adults (N = 38) were detoxified and inducted onto oral naltrexone, then randomly assigned to contingency or prescription conditions. Participants received up to six doses of XR-NTX at four-week intervals. All participants could earn vouchers for attendance and performance at a therapeutic workplace. Contingency participants were required to accept XRNTX injections to access the workplace and earn vouchers. Prescription participants could earn vouchers independent of their acceptance of XR-NTX injections.
Contingency participants accepted significantly more naltrexone injections than prescription participants (87% versus 52%, p = .002), and were more likely to accept all injections (74% versus 26%, p = .004). Participants in the two conditions provided similar percentages of samples negative for opiates (72% versus 65%) and for cocaine (58% versus 54%).Opiate positivity was significantly more likely when samples were also cocaine positive, independent of naltrexone blockade (p = .002).
Long-term adherence to XR-NTX in unemployed opiate dependent adults is low under usual care conditions. Employment-based reinforcement can maintain adherence to XRNTX. Ongoing cocaine use appears to interfere with the clinical effectiveness of XR-NTX on opiate use.
contingency management; incentives; therapeutic workplace; heroin; opioid pharmacotherapy; extended-release naltrexone
Aims: To assess the efficacy of the Therapeutic Workplace, a substance abuse intervention that promotes abstinence while simultaneously addressing the issues of poverty and lack of job skills, in promoting abstinence from alcohol among homeless alcoholics. Methods: Participants (n = 124) were randomly assigned to conditions either requiring abstinence from alcohol to engage in paid job skills training (Contingent Paid Training group), offering paid job skills training with no abstinence contingencies (Paid Training group) or offering unpaid job skill training with no abstinence contingencies (Unpaid Training group). Results: Participants in the Contingent Paid Training group had significantly fewer positive (blood alcohol level ≥ 0.004 g/dl) breath samples than the Paid Training group in both randomly scheduled breath samples collected in the community and breath samples collected during monthly assessments. The breath sample results from the Unpaid Training group were similar in absolute terms to the Contingent Paid Training group, which may have been influenced by a lower breath sample collection rate in this group and fewer reported drinks per day consumed at intake. Conclusion: Overall, the results support the utility of the Therapeutic Workplace intervention to promote abstinence from alcohol among homeless alcoholics, and support paid training as a way of increasing engagement in training programs.
Naltrexone can be used to treat opioid dependence, but patients refuse to take it. Extended-release depot formulations may improve adherence, but long-term adherence rates to depot naltrexone are not known. This study determined long-term rates of adherence to depot naltrexone and whether employment-based reinforcement can improve adherence.
Participants who were inducted onto oral naltrexone were randomly assigned to Contingency (n=18) or Prescription (n=17) groups. Participants were offered six depot naltrexone injections and invited to work at the therapeutic workplace weekdays for 26 weeks where they earned stipends for participating in job skills training. Contingency participants were required to accept naltrexone injections to maintain workplace access and to maintain maximum pay. Prescription participants could work independent of whether they accepted injections.
The therapeutic workplace, a model employment-based intervention for drug addiction and unemployment.
Opioid-dependent unemployed adults.
Depot naltrexone injections accepted and opiate-negative urine samples.
Contingency participants accepted significantly more naltrexone injections than Prescription participants (81% versus 42%), and were more likely to accept all injections (66% versus 35%). At monthly assessments (with missing urine samples imputed as positive), the groups provided similar percentages of samples negative for opiates (74% versus 62%) and for cocaine (56% versus 54%). Opiate positive samples were more likely when samples were also positive for cocaine.
Employment-based reinforcement can maintain adherence to depot naltrexone. Future research should determine whether persistent cocaine use compromises naltrexone's effect on opiate use. Workplaces may be useful for promoting sustained adherence to depot naltrexone.
depot naltrexone; contingency management; heroin; substance abuse; employment-based reinforcement
Keyboarding skill is an important target for adult education programs due to the ubiquity of computers in modern work environments. A previous study showed that novice typists learned key locations quickly but that fluency took a relatively long time to develop. In the present study, novice typists achieved fluent performance in nearly half the time when words rather than jumbled characters were used as stimuli. This suggests that using real words in the keyboarding program can enhance the efficiency of training.
typing; fluency; adult education; job skills; workforce development
Due to the chronicity of cocaine dependence, practical and effective maintenance interventions are needed to sustain long-term abstinence. We sought to assess the effects of long-term employment-based reinforcement of cocaine abstinence after discontinuation of the intervention.
Participants who initiated sustained opiate and cocaine abstinence during a 6-month abstinence reinforcement and training program worked as data entry operators and were randomly assigned to a group that could work independent of drug use (Control, n = 24), or an abstinence-contingent employment (n = 27) group that was required to provide cocaine- and opiate-negative urine samples to work and maintain maximum rate of pay.
A nonprofit data entry business.
Unemployed welfare recipients who persistently used cocaine while in methadone treatment.
Urine samples and self-reports were collected every six months for 30 months.
During the employment year, abstinence-contingent employment participants provided significantly more cocaine-negative samples than controls (82.7% and 54.2%; P = .01, OR = 4.61). During the follow-up year, the groups had similar rates of cocaine-negative samples (44.2% and 50.0%; P = .93), and HIV-risk behaviors. Participants’ social, employment, economic, and legal conditions were similar in the two groups across all phases of the study.
Employment-based reinforcement effectively maintains long-term cocaine abstinence, but many patients relapse to use when the abstinence contingency is discontinued, even after a year of abstinence-contingent employment. Relapse could be prevented in many patients by leaving employment-based abstinence reinforcement in place indefinitely, which could be facilitated by integrating it into typical workplaces.
Cocaine; Methadone; Employment; Contingency management; Abstinence reinforcement
Cocaine abuse and dependence continue to be widespread. Currently there are no pharmacotherapies shown to be effective in the treatment of cocaine dependence.
A 33-week outpatient clinical trial of fluoxetine (60 mg/day, p.o.) for cocaine dependence was conducted that incorporated abstinence-contingent voucher incentives. Participants (n=145) were both cocaine and opioid dependent and treated with methadone. A stratified randomization procedure assigned subjects to one of four conditions: fluoxetine plus voucher incentives (FV), placebo plus voucher incentives (PV), fluoxetine without vouchers (F), and placebo without vouchers (P). Dosing of fluoxetine/placebo was double blind. Primary outcomes were treatment retention and cocaine use based on thrice-weekly urine testing.
The PV group had the longest treatment retention (mean of 165 days) and lowest probability of cocaine use. The adjusted predicted probabilities of cocaine use were: 65% in the P group, 60% in the F group, 56% in the FV group, and 31% in the PV group.
Fluoxetine was not efficacious in reducing cocaine use in patients dually dependent on cocaine and opioids.
Cocaine; Contingency management; Fluoxetine; Methadone
Improving employees' posture may decrease the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The current paper is a systematic replication and extension of Sigurdsson and Austin (2008), who found that an intervention consisting of information, real-time feedback, and self-monitoring improved participant posture at mock workstations. In the current study, participants worked in an applied setting, and posture data were collected at participants' own workstations and a mock workstation. Intervention in the mock setting was associated with consistent improvement in safe posture at the mock workstation, but generalization to the actual workstation was limited.
ergonomics; musculoskeletal disorders; real-time feedback; self-monitoring
This study assesses the frequency that users of illicit drugs display unprofessional behaviors in an employment setting. This research was conducted in the Therapeutic Workplace, a model employment-based treatment program for chronically unemployed adults with long-histories of illicit drug use. Unemployed adults in methadone treatment, who were opiate and cocaine dependent, showed signs of injection drug use, and recently used cocaine were hired to work for 4 hours every weekday for 7 months. Results show that while the overall incidence of many undesirable behaviors is low, a small percentage of participants had serious workplace behavior problems that might limit their success in community workplaces. This study suggests that unprofessional behavior in the workplace could contribute to chronic unemployment in this population.
Employment; Heroin Addiction; Cocaine Addiction; Contingency management; Reinforcement; Vocation rehabilitation
This experiment investigated the combined use of visual prompts, daily feedback, and rewards to reduce electricity consumption in a university residential hall. After a 17-day baseline period, the experimental intervention was introduced in the intervention hall, and no change was made in the control hall. Energy usage decreased in the intervention hall, but energy usage did not change appreciably in the control hall. In the intervention hall, mean daytime and nighttime savings were 16.2% and 10.7%, respectively, compared to savings of 3.8% (day) and 6.5% (night) in the control hall.
dormitories; electricity savings; feedback; incentives; master-metered residences; visual prompts
Stereotypical behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement often does not result in harm but may be undesirable in some situations. In the current investigation, participants were 2 individuals who engaged in nonharmful stereotypical responses shown in an analogue functional analysis to be insensitive to social contingencies. After bringing these responses under stimulus control using differential punishment, both participants learned a mand to terminate punishment for stereotypy. We also assessed whether the mand could be brought under stimulus control.
developmental disabilities; differential reinforcement; function-based intervention; punishment; stereotypy; stimulus control
Due to the chronic nature of cocaine dependence, long-term maintenance treatments may be required to sustain abstinence. Abstinence reinforcement is among the most effective means of initiating cocaine abstinence. Practical and effective means of maintaining abstinence reinforcement programs over time are needed.
Determine whether employment-based abstinence reinforcement can be an effective long-term maintenance intervention for cocaine dependence.
Participants (N=128) were enrolled in a 6-month job skills training and abstinence initiation program. Participants who initiated abstinence, attended regularly, and developed needed job skills during the first six months were hired as operators in a data entry business and randomly assigned to an employment only (Control, n = 24) or abstinence-contingent employment (n = 27) group.
A nonprofit data entry business.
Unemployed welfare recipients who persistently used cocaine while enrolled in methadone treatment in Baltimore.
Abstinence-contingent employment participants received one year of employment-based contingency management, in which access to employment was contingent on provision drug-free urine samples under routine and then random drug testing. If a participant provided drug-positive urine or failed to provide a mandatory sample, then that participant received a temporary reduction in pay and could not work until urinalysis confirmed recent abstinence.
Main Outcome Measure:
Cocaine-negative urine samples at monthly assessments across one year of employment.
During the one-year of employment, abstinence-contingent employment participants provided significantly more cocaine-negative urine samples than employment only participants (79.3% and 50.7%, respectively; p = 0.004, OR = 3.73, 95% CI = 1.60 – 8.69).
Employment-based abstinence reinforcement that includes random drug testing is effective as a long-term maintenance intervention, and is among the most promising treatments for drug dependence. Workplaces could serve as therapeutic agents in the treatment of drug dependence by arranging long-term employment-based contingency management programs.
clinicaltrials.gov. Identifier: NCT00249496
Cocaine; Methadone; Employment; Contingency management; Abstinence reinforcement
We conducted preference assessments with 4 typically developing children to identify potential reinforcers and assessed the reinforcing efficacy of those stimuli. Next, we tested two predictions of economic theory: that overall consumption (reinforcers obtained) would decrease as the unit price (response requirement per reinforcer) increased and that the cost and benefit components that defined unit price would not influence overall consumption considerably when unit price values were equal. We tested these predictions by arranging unit price such that the denominator was one (e.g., two responses produced one reinforcer) or two (e.g., four responses produced two reinforcers). Results showed that consumption decreased as unit price increased and that unit price values with different components produced similar consumption.
behavioral economics; costs and benefits; preference assessment; reinforcer demand; unit price
Adults in a therapeutic workplace working on a computerized keyboarding training program earned vouchers for typing correct characters. Typing technique was evaluated on review steps. Participants could pass the review and earn a bonus, or skip the review and proceed with no bonus. Alternatively, participants could continue practicing on the same step. Participants persistently repeated the same step, which halted progress through the program but allowed them to increase their rate of responding and, as a result, their earnings. Blocking the initiation of practice on review steps and removing payment for practice initiated after prompts (extinction) both produced rapid progress through the program. These results underscore the importance of careful arrangement of the contingencies in adult education programs.
addiction; extinction; job skills training; response blocking; voucher reinforcement
Two pathological gamblers could choose between emitting or having the dealer emit the response options when playing each of three casino games. A response-cost procedure was introduced in a multiple baseline design across games in which the participant had to pay to perform the responses himself, which was somewhat effective at reducing many of the initial irrational choices made by each participant.
addiction; gambling; illusion of control; pathological gambling
Methadone-maintained cocaine abusers (n = 78) were randomly assigned to a 52-week intervention of either (1) usual care only (UC), (2) take-home methadone doses contingent on cocaine- and opiate-negative results (THM), or (3) take-home methadone doses for cocaine- and opiate-negative results and monetary-based vouchers contingent on cocaine-negative urinalysis results (THM+V). Cocaine use was assessed by urinalysis on a thrice-weekly schedule. Frequency and enjoyability of non-drug related activities were assessed with the Pleasant Events Schedule (PES) at baseline, mid-, and end-of-treatment. The THM+V condition achieved the greatest abstinence from cocaine and opiate use, followed by the THM and UC conditions. The THM+V condition had the highest PES Frequency ratings at mid- and end-of-treatment, followed by the THM and UC conditions. There were significant differences between the THM+V and UC conditions on 10 of 12 PES subscales. Analyses revealed that abstinence mediated the effects of treatment condition on frequency ratings. There were no significant differences in Enjoyability ratings. These results suggest that when contingency-management interventions increase abstinence from drug abuse they also increase engagement in non-drug related activities in naturalistic settings.
Substance Abuse; Treatment; Contingency Management; Pleasant Events; Cocaine
If the members of a functional response class occur in a predictable order, a response-class hierarchy is said to exist. Although this topic has received some attention in the applied literature, it remains relatively understudied. The purpose of the current investigation was to develop an analogue model of a response-class hierarchy. Children with and without developmental disabilities were first taught three responses in an attempt to develop a functional response class ordered along the dimension of response effort (Experiment 1). Following response-class development, an extinction analysis was used to determine whether the responses were hierarchically related (Experiment 2). Results of Experiment 1 indicated that a functional response class was developed, and that there was a relation between response rate and effort for the established response class. Results of Experiment 2 indicated that a response-class hierarchy existed within the previously developed response classes for 3 of 4 participants.
problem behavior; response covariation; response-class hierarchy
This study analyzed the viability of financing a voucher program for cocaine addicts in Spain through public and private donations. Of the 136 companies contacted, 52 (38%) provided donations. The difference between the benefits (15,670€/$20,371) and the costs (3,734€/$4,854) was 11,936€/$15,517. The type of reinforcer a company can offer, the size of the company, and the time elapsed before responding may be determining variables in a company's decision whether to collaborate.
cocaine; community reinforcement approach plus vouchers; community-sponsored programs; fund-raising procedures
This study assessed whether attendance rates in a workplace predicted subsequent outcome of employment-based reinforcement of cocaine abstinence. Unemployed adults in Baltimore methadone programs who used cocaine (N = 111) could work in a workplace for 4 hr every weekday and earn $10.00 per hour in vouchers for 26 weeks. During an induction period, participants provided urine samples but could work independent of their urinalysis results. After the induction period, participants had to provide urinalysis evidence of cocaine abstinence to work and maintain maximum pay. A multiple regression analysis showed that induction period attendance was independently associated with urinalysis evidence of cocaine abstinence under the employment-based abstinence reinforcement contingency. Induction period attendance may measure the reinforcing value of employment and could be used to guide the improvement of employment-based abstinence reinforcement.
abstinence reinforcement; cocaine addiction; contingency management; employment; methadone
Contingency management (CM) is effective in enhancing retention in therapy. After an 8-week baseline, four community-based substance abuse treatment clinics were exposed in random order to 16 weeks of standard care with CM followed by 16 weeks of standard care without CM or vice versa. In total, 75 outpatients participated. Patients who were enrolled in the clinics when the CM treatment phase was in effect attended a significantly greater percentage of therapy sessions than patients who were enrolled in treatment when CM was not in effect. This study is one of the first to investigate CM in community settings implemented entirely by community clinicians, and results suggest that CM is effective in improving therapy attendance.
attendance; community settings; contingency management; substance abuse treatment
This study evaluated the efficacy of a contingency management (CM) intervention to promote smoking cessation in methadone-maintained patients. Twenty participants, randomized into contingent (n = 10) or noncontingent (n = 10) experimental conditions, completed the 14-day study. Abstinence was determined using breath carbon monoxide and urine cotinine levels. Contingent participants received voucher-based incentives for biochemical evidence of smoking abstinence. Noncontingent participants earned vouchers independent of smoking status. Contingent participants achieved significantly more smoking abstinence and longer durations of continuous smoking abstinence than did noncontingent participants. These results support the potential efficacy of using voucher-based CM to promote smoking cessation among methadone-maintained patients.
contingency management; methadone maintenance; smoking cessation
Contingency management (CM) for drug abstinence has been applied to individuals independently even when delivered in groups. We developed a group CM intervention in which the behavior of a single, randomly selected, anonymous individual determined reinforcement delivery for the entire group. We also compared contingencies placed only on cocaine abstinence (CA) versus one of four behaviors (CA, treatment attendance, group CM attendance, and methadone compliance) selected randomly at each drawing. Two groups were formed with 22 cocaine-dependent community-based methadone patients and exposed to both CA and multiple behavior (MB) conditions in a reversal design counterbalanced across groups for exposure order. The group CM intervention proved feasible and safe. The MB condition improved group CM meeting attendance relative to the CA condition.
cocaine abstinence; cocaine abuse; contingency management; drug abuse; treatment attendance
Fifty-eight smokers received abstinence-contingent monetary payments for 1 (n = 15) or 14 (n = 43) days. Those who received contingent payments for 14 days also received 0, 1, or 8 experimenter-delivered cigarette puffs on 5 evenings. The relative reinforcing effects of smoking were assessed in a 3-hr session on the final study day, when participants made 20 choices between smoking or money. The reinforcement contingencies exerted robust control over smoking, and programmed smoking lapses produced few discernible effects. These results further illustrate the robust control that reinforcement contingencies can exert over cigarette smoking and suggest that any effects of lapses on the relative reinforcing effects of smoking are modest under conditions involving abstinence-contingent reinforcement contingencies.
abstinence; cigarette smoking; contingency management; lapses; reinforcing effects
The present study evaluated a new 30-day Web-based contingency management program for smoking abstinence with 4 daily-smoking adolescents. Participants made 3 daily video recordings of themselves giving breath carbon monoxide (CO) samples at home that were sent electronically to study personnel. Using a reversal design, participants could earn money for continued abstinence during the treatment phases (CO ≤ 5 ppm). All participants were compliant with the treatment (submitting 97.2% of samples), and all achieved prolonged abstinence from smoking.
adolescents; cigarette smoking; contingency management; drug abstinence treatment
We investigated the extent to which a contingency management (CM) procedure that deducted money from a grand total available at the end of the study compared to a procedure in which money accumulated with continued abstinence from cigarette smoking. Results suggested that the procedure in which money increased contingent on abstinence resulted in a significantly greater likelihood of obtaining a clinically relevant (i.e., 48-hr) period of abstinence. In terms of attendance, participants in the condition in which monetary reinforcement accrued with consecutive instances of abstinence were significantly less likely to miss consecutive appointments than those in which money was deducted for failure to abstain.
cigarette smoking; contingency management; reinforcement
Extensive evidence from the laboratory and the clinic suggests that drug addiction can be viewed as operant behavior and effectively treated through the application of principles of operant conditioning. Contingency management interventions that arrange for the direct reinforcement of drug abstinence or of other therapeutically important target behaviors (e.g., regular use of drug abuse treatment medications) are among the most studied type of operant treatments. Behavior analysts have contributed to the substantial and rapidly growing literature on operant treatments for drug addiction, but the publications of this work usually appear in medical, clinical psychology, or drug abuse journals. This special issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis represents an effort to bring this important work to the attention of the behavior-analytic community. The articles in this special issue illustrate both the enormous potential of contingency management interventions to address the serious and seemingly intractable problem of drug addiction as well as the real challenges involved in attempting to develop and disseminate treatments that will produce substantial and lasting changes in the lives of individuals plagued by the chronic problem of drug addiction.
abstinence reinforcement; contingency management; drug abuse; drug addiction; operant conditioning