Alternative reinforcers differentially modify cocaine self-administration by humans

Behav Pharmacol. 2000 Feb;11(1):87-91. doi: 10.1097/00008877-200002000-00010.


Six experienced cocaine smokers (two men, four women) participated in an inpatient study to compare self-administration of smoked cocaine when either a $5 money or merchandise voucher was available as an alternative reinforcer. A six-trial choice procedure was used, with sessions consisting of (1) one sample trial, where participants received the cocaine dose and the alternative reinforcer available that day, and (2) five choice trials, where participants chose between the available cocaine dose and the alternative reinforcer. There were eight sessions: in separate sessions, each dose of cocaine (0, 12, 25, 50 mg) was paired with a money voucher and with a merchandise voucher. The choice to self-administer cocaine significantly increased with escalating cocaine doses, and significantly less cocaine was self-administered when money vouchers were available as compared to merchandise vouchers. These data demonstrate that money vouchers are a more effective alternative reinforcer than merchandise vouchers in cocaine abusers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cocaine / pharmacology*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / economics*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Crack Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Self Administration


  • Crack Cocaine
  • Cocaine