Sept. 13, 2022 – Since 2011, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has used the method with 5,700 veterans. Rewards are vouchers the vets redeem at their local canteen. Over the years, 92% of the urine tests done on these veterans have been negative for drugs, said Dominick DePhilippis of the VA’s substance use disorders program.

When done right, reward programs can be a bridge from the difficult days of early recovery to a better life, said Carla Rash, associate professor of medicine at UConn Health, who studies the method. It helps people make better decisions in the moment, tipping the scale when the immediate rewards of using drugs are difficult to resist.

The rewards can “provide a little bit of recognition for people’s efforts,” Rash said.

For Casey Thompson, 41, of Colville, Washington, the first month after quitting meth was the worst. Without stimulants, he felt burned out and exhausted.


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