In order to identify an appropriate needle puncture control for clinical trials of acupuncture we conducted a study in which ten cocaine dependent subjects rated local and systemic effects of four auricular needle puncture configurations (a) sites commonly used for addiction; (b) sites proximate to addiction specific sites; (c) sites not specific for cocaine addiction; and (d) sites in the helix. Subjects received one treatment per day on four successive days. The addiction specific sites were rated highest on local effects; proximal sites a common control were rated highest on systemic effects. A majority of patients ranked the addiction specific sites as the most preferred treatment and the helix points as the least preferred. Results suggest that needle insertion into proximate and non-specific sites may be too active for use as controls; helix regions may be more suitable.