Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #460
CE Offered: BACB
Disseminating Behavioral Intervention for Drug Abuse Across the USA: A Behavior Analysis Story
Monday, May 31, 2021
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: BPN; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: August F. Holtyn (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
CE Instructor: Anthony DeFulio, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: ANTHONY DEFULIO (Western Michigan University)

Behavior analysts have been conducting research at the crossroads of drugs and behavior for over 70 years. They pioneered the idea that drug taking is behavior that is sensitive to its consequences. Their work has had an indelible influence on the substance abuse treatment research community, and has had a profound effect on US drug policy. Their work to develop interventions to promote drug abstinence began in the 1960s, and featured many exquisite demonstrations of precise control of drug taking by contingencies of reinforcement. In the 1990s Higgins and colleagues published a series of studies on voucher-based reinforcement therapy for cocaine use that sparked an explosion of research activity in contingency management as a substance abuse intervention. Since then, many contingency management researchers have dedicated substantial parts of their careers to the transfer of this behavioral technology to real-world practice. This work has been slow and difficult. The preponderance of these efforts have led to meetings in which administrators of one sort or another explain to the behavioral scientists all the many reasons why the most effective psychosocial treatment for substance use disorders ever devised just isn’t practical, and how they won’t be going forward with implementing any such intervention. But things are starting to change. The last decade has been filled with a host of great successes and promising developments. Barriers still remain, and access is still limited, but real contingency management services are finally available everywhere in the USA. This presentation will include an overview of the history of the development of contingency management intervention, discuss barriers to implementation, highlight recent successes, and ultimately focus on how mobile technology has been (and will continue to be) a crucial element in the dissemination of a life-saving intervention developed by behavior analysts.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Academics and practitioners with an interest in substance abuse treatment, remote/telehealth behavior intervention, or novel applications of behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the standard contingencies used in contingency management for the treatment of substance use disorders; (2) describe the evidence in support of the use of contingency management as an intervention for promoting recovery-related behaviors in people with substance use disorders; (3) describe the barriers to dissemination for contingency management as an intervention for promoting recovery-related behaviors in people with substance use disorders; (4) describe how technology can be used to facilitate dissemination of contingency management for the treatment of substance use disorders.
ANTHONY DEFULIO (Western Michigan University)

Dr. DeFulio’s experiences in behavior analysis include provision of in-home services to children with autism, translational research on the development of reading skills in developmentally disabled adults, and conducting basic research on conditioned reinforcement in pigeons. Over the last 14 years, Dr. DeFulio’s research has principally focused on behavioral interventions for promoting drug abstinence and medication adherence. His most recent work involves delivering these interventions remotely, and includes collaboration with DynamiCare Health, Inc., a Boston startup that is dedicated to provision of contingency management services on a national scale. Dr. DeFulio has been the principal investigator on four NIH research grants and a co-investigator on many others. His most recent NIH grant project involves a smartphone-based approach to promoting entry into medication-assistant treatment in out-of-treatment opioid users. He was the 2014 recipient of the APA’s B.F. Skinner Young Researcher Award, and has served on the board of editors for JABA, JEAB and Perspectives on Behavior Science. He is also a former president of the Four Corners Association for Behavior Analysis. In June of 2015 he joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University, an internationally recognized institution for training and research related to Behavior Analysis, where he teaches a variety of behavior analysis graduate classes and mentors undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students.




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