Voucher reinforcement for heroin and cocaine abstinence in an outpatient drug-free program

Elizabeth C. Katz, Mary Ann Chutuape, Hendree E. Jones, Maxine L. Stitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study examined an abstinence-contingent voucher incentive program in opiate-dependent clients enrolled in outpatient drug-free (nonmethadone) treatment. Study participants were referred from local detoxification programs and randomly assigned to voucher (n = 29) or no-voucher (n = 23) conditions. Both groups received intensive cognitive-behavioral counseling; those in the voucher condition could earn up to $1,087.50 over 3 months for submitting urines negative for both opiates and cocaine. Voucher versus no-voucher groups did not differ significantly on mean days retained in treatment (35.9 vs. 39.3 days), mean number of opiate- and cocaine-negative urines submitted (8.3 vs. 6.2), longest duration of continuous abstinence (16.8 vs. 12.1 days), or percentage of participants abstinent for 4 weeks (20.7% voucher vs. 9% no voucher). Possible reasons for negative findings are discussed. Findings suggest that voucher programs must be better tailored to the clinical population and behavioral targets being addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental and clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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