What are the Top Contingency Management Interventions?

What are the Top Contingency Management Interventions?

What is Contingency Management? The principles of contingency management for addiction treatment involve giving individuals tangible rewards to reinforce positive behavior, such as abstinence. Some other common treatment goals can be improved attendance at group therapy sessions or attending regular outpatient treatment.

The reasoning behind this is that:

Behaviors that are rewarded are more likely to continue and continue with increased frequency, intensity, and duration.

Behaviors that are punished are more likely to be reduced in frequency, intensity, and duration until they are eliminated.

So what are some common contingency management interventions which are also effective?

Earning Back a Deposit

The individual pays a deposit at the beginning of treatment and earns it back upon successful completion of treatment.


The individual gets personalized cumulative vouchers that can be exchanged for either goods outside the treatment facility or within the treatment facility.


Earning treatment setting privileges such as evening or weekend passes, phone calls, more TV time, etc.

Prize Draws

The individual can be entered into prize draws for gifts ranging from $10 to $100 for meeting behavior goals. Or it could be a prize draw for gifts and the individual’s name goes into a hat.

Gift Certificates

The individual may receive gift certificates or online vouchers to specific stores. These could even be a store of their choice.


Take home doses of medications such as Methadone are popular reinforcement gifts.

Variations of Contingency Management

There are two main varieties of contingency management

Voucher Based Reinforcement, wherein the individual in recovery receives one voucher for each urine sample provided that doesn’t contain traces of drugs. Vouchers start with low values and over time their worth increases. This incentivizes the individual to remain clean. When enough vouchers can be collected, they can be exchanged for desirable items.

Prize Incentives Contingency Management, wherein the individual earns the ability to select prizes from a provided selection by attending treatment, having clean urine samples, taking medication as prescribed, etc.

Criticisms of Contingency Management

Critics of contingency management are of the opinion that it is not the best intervention method to treat addiction and dependence. Some criticisms are:

It is too expensive

It encourages gambling

It doesn’t get to the root of substance abuse

It is too restrictive.

At Blueprints we offer individualized programs to help young adults struggling with addiction. Call us to find out how you can get started on your journey to recovery.


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