Use of monetary reinforcers by cocaine-dependent outpatients.

Journal of substance abuse treatment

PubMedID: 10531629

Rothfleisch J, Elk R, Rhoades H, Schmitz J. Use of monetary reinforcers by cocaine-dependent outpatients. J Subst Abuse Treat. 1999;17(3):229-36.
Monetary reinforcers have not been widely used as contingent reinforcers in the treatment of drug abuse, despite their demonstrated effectiveness. This is primarily due to concern that drug abusers will use monetary reinforcers to procure drugs. The present study addressed this concern by examining 48 cocaine-dependent outpatients' biweekly self-reports of how they used their earned reinforcers. For each subject, their reinforcement usage was classified into 12 higher-order categories and 34 subcategories. Usage proportions were calculated for each. Results indicated that monetary reinforcers were used very infrequently to acquire drugs or alcohol (2%). Reinforcers were used primarily for daily life activities (25%) (e.g., food and gas), money-related uses (18%) (e.g., savings and repaying debts), personal use (15%) (e.g., cosmetics and clothes), and household items (11%) (e.g., rent and bills). These findings challenge the concern that drug abusers use monetary reinforcers to purchase drugs and have important implications for the use of contingent monetary reinforcers in treatment settings.