Here’s What We Learned After Studying 1,569 People Who Used a Methadone Clinic to Overcome Heroin Addiction

While drug abuse has been going on for thousands of years, we are still continuing to learn more and more about it as time passes.

In particular, scientists are now concerned with how to achieve the best recovery from addiction. One of the most popular treatments today is methadone, meaning it has been the subject of many different studies.

One study done by a group of scientists looked at 1,569 people who used a methadone clinic in order to overcome heroin addiction. The results of this study helped them gain valuable insight into the addiction recovery process.

About the Study

Overcome Heroin Addiction

The study researched the effectiveness of contingency management strategies in methadone clinics.

This study was entitled “Contingency Management in Outpatient Methadone Treatment: A Meta-Analysis” and was originally published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2000. Research was performed by four primary scientists: J.D. Griggith, G.A. Rowan-Szal, R.R. Roark, and D.D. Simpson.

They began the study by taking a look at 30 completed studies that had taken place in outpatient methadone treatment centers. By analyzing the data from 1,569 participants, they could come up with a better idea of how effective contingency management strategies are.

The group took a look at drug use during treatment through urinalysis to determine just how effective contingency management was.

What is Contingency Management?

To understand the results of the study, it’s first important to understand what contingency management actually is.

Contingency management is a strategy that involves reinforcing good behavior with rewards and withholding said rewards or reinforcing punishment for bad behavior.

For example, a drug addict may be rewarded with a voucher for free things when maintain their abstinence for a certain period of time. However, if they are unable to stay abstinent, they won’t receive the voucher and their parole officer might be notified.

Still confused on how contingency management works? Give us a call at 800-891-9360 to learn more and find a program near you today.

More Rapid Delivery of the Reinforcer

One of the key findings of this study was that the quicker the patient received their reward after a certain period of good behavior, the longer they were able to stay off of drugs.

With this in mind, a more frequent reward system might be key to perfecting contingency management techniques.

More Frequent Urine Screenings

The study found that as the number of urine screenings per week increased, so too did the amount of people using drugs decrease during treatment.

This might mean that challenging people to prove their sobriety motivates them to stay off of drugs during treatment.

Longer Duration of Treatment

The study also found that people on contingency management plans were able to stay in treatment longer.

Actually staying in treatment for the necessary amount of time is a huge problem for many addicts who relapse and drop out early. With incentives, it might make it easier to complete the entire length of treatment.

What we Learned from 50 Years of Methadone Maintenance Treatment and the Stigma Surrounding Opiate Addiction Recovery

Single Drug Targets

Unfortunately, contingency management was not so successful in patients who were addicted to more than one drug at a time. In many cases, patients who had two drugs in their systems were unable to earn any rewards because it was too hard to come clean all at once.

Instead, contingency management is best done for a single drug at a time. This allows the patient to take small steps instead of trying to accomplish everything at once.

Inconsistent Monitoring and Reinforcing Procedures Are Bad

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the study also revealed that when monitoring and positive reinforcement practices weren’t on a set schedule, patients tended to relapse more often.

Being on a set monitoring and reinforcement schedule gives the patient something to look forward to and helps them set goals for themselves.

As you can see, this study proves that contingency management is a great tool for those using a methadone clinic to overcome heroin addiction.

If you need help overcoming your addiction, don’t hesitate to call us at 800-891-9360.