Is This Study Surprising?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Is This Study Surprising?

I think not. From the Boston Globe:
A combination of therapy and incentives -- such as clothing and movie tickets -- can be successful in helping someone kick a marijuana addiction, according to a new study.

... (The study) followed 90 men and women who had been diagnosed as being dependent on marijuana. One group received vouchers, redeemable for pre-approved uses such as meals, clothing or movie tickets. Another group received cognitive therapy and a third group received both vouchers and therapy. The group that received both had the highest success rate, with 43 percent of subjects no longer smoking marijuana at the end of the 14-week study.

"We found that vouchers generated greater rates of marijuana abstinence compared with therapy alone, but that therapy enhanced the voucher effect following treatment," said Alan Budney, professor in the department of psychiatry in the [University of Arkansas] College of Medicine.

... Participants in the study, which was conducted in Vermont, had the potential to earn a total of $570 to be used for "almost anything pro-social" such as restaurant meals, movie tickets, exercise equipment, children's games or work clothes, said Andrea Peel, a UAMS spokeswoman.

Twice a week, participants could receive their vouchers if they passed drug tests.
I'm not sure I'd call movie-going a "pro-social" activity; even if you go to the movie with a friend, you can't talk to them (at least you're not supposed to).

But, more importantly, should it really surprise us that pot smokers can be encouraged to stop smoking marijuana if they're bought off with free restaurant meals, new clothes and free movie tickets?

Frankly, this study makes my college alma mater look a little silly.

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