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Keywords:

  • alcohol;
  • contingency management;
  • drugs;
  • treatment

Abstract

Given the very positive and extensive research evidence demonstrating efficacy and effectiveness of contingency management, it is important that Australia explore whether contingency management has a role to play in our own treatment context. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 30 experienced alcohol and drug practitioners, service managers and policymakers in Victoria. Interviewees were selected to represent the range of drug treatment services types and included rural representation. A semi-structured interview schedule, covering their perceptions and practices of contingency management was used. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using N2 qualitative data analysis program. The majority of key informants were positively inclined toward contingency management, notwithstanding some concerns about the philosophical underpinnings. Concerns were raised in relation to the use of monetary rewards. Examples of the use of contingency management provided by key informants demonstrated an over-inclusive definition: all the examples did not adhere to the key principles of contingency management. This may create problems if a structured contingency management were to be introduced in Australia. Contingency management is an important adjunctive treatment intervention and its use in Australia has the potential to enhance treatment outcomes. No unmanageable barriers were identified in this study.