NICE proposes incentives to keep addicts free of drugs

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 01 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:229
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    Drug addicts who are receiving methadone maintenance treatment should be given incentives, such as shopping vouchers, each time they test negative for the presence of drugs, to encourage them to keep off drugs, says a draft guideline on the psychosocial management of drug misuse by the NHS in England and Wales.

    The draft guideline recommends that services for drug misusers should introduce contingency management programmes that use incentives to reduce illicit drug use and that improve engagement with those services among people undergoing methadone maintenance treatment. Incentives, which would usually be privileges such as access to a rapid dosing line, or vouchers, would be given each time a patient tests negative for the presence of drugs.

    The guidance suggests that vouchers should have a value of £5 and should increase in value with each additional and continuing(?) period of abstinence.

    Screening—probably by urinalysis—should be carried out three times each …

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