Use of continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring during a contingency management procedure to reduce excessive alcohol use

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Sep 1;142:301-6. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.06.039. Epub 2014 Jul 11.


Background: Research on contingency management to treat excessive alcohol use is limited due to feasibility issues with monitoring adherence. This study examined the effectiveness of using transdermal alcohol monitoring as a continuous measure of alcohol use to implement financial contingencies to reduce heavy drinking.

Methods: Twenty-six male and female drinkers (from 21 to 39 years old) were recruited from the community. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment sequences. Sequence 1 received 4 weeks of no financial contingency (i.e., $0) drinking followed by 4 weeks each of $25 and then $50 contingency management; Sequence 2 received 4 weeks of $25 contingency management followed by 4 weeks each of no contingency (i.e., $0) and then $50 contingency management. During the $25 and $50 contingency management conditions, participants were paid each week when the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM-II™) identified no heavy drinking days.

Results: Participants in both contingency management conditions had fewer drinking episodes and reduced frequencies of heavy drinking compared to the $0 condition. Participants randomized to Sequence 2 (receiving $25 contingency before the $0 condition) exhibited less frequent drinking and less heavy drinking in the $0 condition compared to participants from Sequence 1.

Conclusions: Transdermal alcohol monitoring can be used to implement contingency management programs to reduce excessive alcohol consumption.

Keywords: Contingency management; Excessive alcohol use; Transdermal alcohol monitoring.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Ethanol / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Ethanol