Achieving cocaine abstinence with a behavioral approach

Am J Psychiatry. 1993 May;150(5):763-9. doi: 10.1176/ajp.150.5.763.


Objective: The authors compared the efficacy of a multicomponent behavioral treatment and drug abuse counseling for cocaine-dependent individuals.

Method: The 38 patients were enrolled in outpatient treatment and were randomly assigned to the two treatments. Counseling in the behavioral treatment was based on the community reinforcement approach, while the drug abuse counseling was based on the disease model of dependence and recovery. Patients in the behavioral, but not the drug counseling, treatment also received incentives contingent on submitting cocaine-free urine specimens.

Results: Of the 19 patients who received behavioral treatment, 58% completed 24 weeks of treatment, versus 11% of the patients who received counseling. In the behavioral treatment group 68% and 42% of the patients achieved at least 8 and 16 weeks of documented continuous cocaine abstinence, respectively, versus 11% and 5% in the drug abuse counseling group.

Conclusions: This multicomponent behavioral treatment appears to be an effective intervention for retaining outpatients in treatment and establishing cocaine abstinence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Cocaine* / urine
  • Comorbidity
  • Counseling
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Dropouts
  • Reinforcement, Social
  • Substance Abuse Detection
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / urine
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cocaine