Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach implementation and treatment outcomes for youth with opioid problem use

Mark D. Godley, Lora L. Passetti, Geetha A. Subramaniam, Rodney R. Funk, Jane Ellen Smith, Robert J. Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background This paper compares adolescents with primary opioid problem use (OPU) to those with primary marijuana or alcohol problem use (MAPU) who received up to six months of Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA), an empirically supported treatment. Methods Intake clinical characteristics, treatment implementation measures, and clinical outcomes of two substance problem groups (OPU and MAPU) were compared using data from 1712 adolescents receiving A-CRA treatment. Data were collected at intake and 3, 6, and 12 months post-intake. Results At intake, adolescents in the OPU group were more likely than those in the MAPU group to be Caucasian, older, female, and not attending school; report greater substance and mental health problems; and engage in social and health risk behaviors. There was statistical equivalence between groups in rates of A-CRA treatment initiation, engagement, retention, and satisfaction. Both groups decreased significantly on most substance use outcomes, with the OPU group showing greater improvement; however, the OPU group had more severe problems at intake and continued to report higher frequency of opioid use and more days of emotional problems and residential treatment over 12 months. Conclusions The feasibility and acceptability of A-CRA for OPUs was demonstrated. Despite significantly greater improvement by the OPU group, they did not improve to the level of the MAPU group over 12 months, suggesting that they may benefit from A-CRA continuing care up to 12 months, medication to address opioid withdrawal and craving, and the inclusion of opioid-focused A-CRA procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent community reinforcement approach
  • Opioid
  • Outcomes
  • Substance use treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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