Reducing drug use among methadone maintenance clients: Contingent reinforcement for morphine-free urines

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66 Scopus citations


This study assessed the impact on supplemental heroin use by seven methadone maintenance patients of providing extrinsic reinforcement contingent upon morphine-free urinalysis results. Reinforcement was available for morphine-free urine samples during randomly selected weeks. Reinforcement consisted of a choice between $15, two methadone take- home privileges, and two opportunities to self-regulate methadone dosage. The monetary reinforcer was chosen on 95% of reinforcement occasions. During contingent reinforcement the rate of morphine-positive urinalyses declined significantly below pre-study levels (Wilcoxon Test, P<0.01). The morphine-positive rate during the randomly intermixed non-reinforcement weeks also declined, and did not differ significantly from that during reinforcement weeks. The post-study morphine-positive rate increased to a level not significantly different from the prestudy level. These data suggest generalization of the reinforcement effect to the non-reinforcement weeks, and indicate the need for further studies to determine the specific impact of the reinforcement procedure. Clinically, these data support the utility of contingent reinforcement for drug-free biological samples as a treatment modality for substance abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-340
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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