Rewarding recovering drug users for staying abstinent could be the best way to treat some kinds of substance use disorders, according to a team of researchers at Washington State University.

Sara Parent, a co-author of a recent literature review on the topic, is an assistant professor in WSU’s Community and Behavioral Health Department. She said the treatment method, known as contingency management, works by using rewards to counteract the positive reinforcement people get from drug use.

While it can be used to treat a range of addictions, Parent said, contingency management is especially promising for treating addiction to stimulant drugs like meth or cocaine. Unlike opioids, there are no drugs approved for or proven to treat stimulant addictions.

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