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Contingency Management

Updated: Apr 20, 2023


Contingency management is the use of positive rewards or incentives to aid in the behavior change process. Contingency management involves giving tangible rewards to individuals to support positive behavior change, and has been found to be effective in treating SUDs. In this therapy, patients receive a gift card or voucher when they exhibit desired behavior such as drug-free urine tests or participation in treatment activities.

Clinical studies have shown that contingency management results in better treatment engagement for patients and longer periods of abstinence. Studies have shown effectiveness for individuals with cocaine use disorder, as well as those struggling with alcohol, opioid, and methamphetamine use disorders. Contingency management may be combined with other therapies or treatment components like CBT.


Addiction Policy Forum's video explainer on contingency management walks through the components of this important treatment for substance use disorders.

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