Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT): Engaging Unmotivated Drug Users in Treatment

Although motivation for drug abuse treatment is a substantial problem, unilateral intervention through concerned significant others (CSOs) represents a promising method for engaging unmotivated individuals. The Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) program, based on principles of reinforcement, was developed for this specific purpose. In Phase I, CSOs received the CRAFT intervention, whereby they were taught skills for modifying a loved one’s drug-using behavior and for enhancing treatment engagement. CSOs were evaluated at 3 and 6 months. In Phase II, engaged drug users received treatment using the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA). A total of 62 CSOs participated in this evaluation of the effectiveness of CRAFT. CSOs completed, on average, 87% of offered treatment sessions. During the 6-month study period, 74% succeeded in engaging their resistant loved one in treatment. Reported abstinence both from illicit drugs and alcohol increased significantly for drug users engaged in treatment, but not for unengaged cases. All CSOs showed significant reductions in depression, anxiety, anger, and physical symptoms, with average scores dropping into the normal range on all measures. CRAFT provides a promising alternative to confrontational and detachment approaches in counseling CSOs to help their loved ones.

Population of focus: Individuals with substance use disorders

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Date: 1999

Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse