A Feasibility Trial for Inhibitory-Control Training to Reduce Cocaine Use

Grants and Contracts Details


Cocaine abuse is an unrelenting public-health concern. Behavioral therapies are considered the “standard of care” for reducing cocaine use and preventing relapse. However, even with intense behavioral interventions, rates of relapse to cocaine use are discouragingly high (i.e., 60-95% of patients return to drug use). Novel strategies are urgently needed to improve treatment outcomes for cocaine-use disorders. The overarching goal of this project is to assess the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of an innovative cocaine-based inhibitory-control training procedure. This goal will be accomplished through the conduct of a Stage I pilot trial. Cocaine-abusing participants will be enrolled and randomized to receive inhibitory-control training to cocaine (N=20) or neutral images (N=20). This proposed intervention, cocaine-based inhibitory-control training, will be delivered using an innovative computer program which teaches cocaine abusers to inhibit a pre-potent response to cocaine or neutral cues. The primary hypothesis is the proposed procedures are feasible and acceptable to the participants. Feasibility will be assessed by determining time needed to enroll the target sample; adaptive randomization outcomes; maintenance of blind for blinded study personnel; participant attendance, completion and adherence to study procedures. Acceptability will be determined using a Treatment Acceptability Questionnaire. The secondary hypothesis is that participants receiving cocaine-based inhibitory-control training will reduce their drug use to a greater extent than their counterparts in the neutral-image condition. Reduced cocaine use will be demonstrated by fewer positive-urine samples using qualitative urinalysis and a reduction in levels of benzoylecgonine as determined by quantitative urinalysis (i.e., ELISA). The third hypothesis is that participants receiving cocaine-based inhibitory-control training will show improved inhibitory control and neurocognitive functioning relative to their counterparts in the neutral-image condition. Improved inhibitory control, impulsivity and cognitive functioning will be demonstrated using a battery of clinical instruments and laboratory tasks. The proposed research is highly innovative in that it will provide critical information regarding the initial efficacy of cocaine-based inhibitory-control training to reduce drug use and improve inhibitory control and neurocognitive functioning in cocaine-abusing participants. Cocaine-based inhibitory-control training is also easy to administer (i.e., requires about 15 minutes), inexpensive, need not be administered by a clinician, and could easily be incorporated into current behavioral or community-based treatment approaches to enhance sustained abstinence, thereby quickly impacting clinical research and practice. The cocaine-based inhibitory-control training program could also be converted to a smart-phone for administration outside the clinic. Administering training outside of the clinic would allow patients to receive more frequent booster sessions, further improving sustained abstinence by allowing them to be exposed to therapy as needed.
Effective start/end date3/15/151/31/18


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $674,992.00


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