Monetary alternative reinforcers more effectively decrease intranasal cocaine choice than food alternative reinforcers

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23 Scopus citations


Cocaine dependence continues to be a significant public health concern. Contingency management, wherein alternative reinforcers are made available upon cocaine abstinence, has shown promise for decreasing cocaine use. Other research has modeled this effect and demonstrated that alternative reinforcers also reduce cocaine self-administration in the laboratory. Results from both clinical and laboratory studies suggest that the type and value of alternative reinforcers influences their ability to decrease drug choice. The purpose of the present experiment was to determine the effect of money or food alternative reinforcers, valued at $0.01, 0.25, 0.50 and 1.00, on intranasal cocaine (4 [placebo] and 30 mg) choice. Cocaine was chosen to a greater extent than placebo across alternative reinforcer types and values, but the monetary alternative reinforcer suppressed drug choice to a greater degree than the food reinforcer. These results are concordant with previous findings and suggest that money may be a more effective alternative reinforcer for decreasing cocaine use. Future research should determine the sensitivity of this model to specific behavioral aspects of contingency management and whether food could compete with drugs as reinforcers in humans under laboratory conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-191
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NIDA Grants R01 DA 013567 (CRR) and R21 DA 024089 (WWS) as well as by NCRR Grant M01 RR02602 to Jay Perman. The authors wish to thank Neena Khanna, Bryan Hall, Derek Roe, Jennifer Schmedes and Kristi Yingling for expert technical assistance and Paul Glaser, Lon Hays and Frances Wagner for expert medical assistance with this project.


  • Alternative reinforcer
  • Cocaine
  • Humans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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