Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for Psychotherapy Research

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National Institute on Drug Abuse Cocaine Collaborative Treatment Study

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study was designed to examine the efficacy of four psychosocial treatments for cocaine dependence. This study, done between 1991 and 1997, was the largest study ever done on the treatment of cocaine dependence. To date, 41 publications have resulted from the study, which detail the study findings and conclusions. Please click here for a list of publications from the study.

The project was funded as a Cooperative Agreement involving four clinical sites, a Coordinating Center, and NIDA staff. Paul Crits-Christoph, PhD was the Principal Investigator of the Coordinating Center. The collaborating scientists at the Treatment Research Branch, Division of Clinical and Research Services at NIDA, included Jack Blaine, MD and Lisa Simon Onken, PhD. The four participating clinical sites were: University of Pennsylvania - Lester Luborsky, PhD (PI), Jacques P. Barber, PhD (CO-PI); Brookside Hospital/Harvard Medical School - Arlene Frank, PhD (PI), Stephen F. Butler, PhD (CO-PI/Innovative Training Systems); McLean/ Mass General Hospital-Harvard University Medical School- Roger D. Weiss, MD (PI), David R. Gastfriend, MD (CO-PI); University of Pittsburgh/Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic - Michael E. Thase, MD (PI), Dennis Daley, MSW (CO-PI), Ishan M. Salloum, MD (CO-PI).

The study design contrasted four treatments. In two of these, professional psychotherapy— either cognitive therapy (CT)or supportive-expressive (SE) psychodynamic therapy—was added to group drug counseling (GDC). A third treatment combined individual drug counseling (IDC) with GDC, and the fourth consisted of GDC alone. The findings indicated that compared with the two psychotherapies and with GDC alone, individual drug counseling plus GDC showed the greatest improvement on the Addiction Severity Index–Drug Use Composite score. Individual group counseling plus GDC was also superior to the two psychotherapies on the number of days of cocaine use in the past month.

Compared with professional psychotherapy, a manual-guided combination of intensive individual drug counseling and GDC has promise for the treatment of cocaine dependence.

The main outcome paper from this study is:

Crits-Christoph, P., Siqueland, L., Blaine, J., Frank, A., Luborsky, L., Onken, L. S., Muenz, L. R., Thase, M.E., Weiss, R.D., Gastfriend, D. R., Woody, G. E., Barber, J. P., Butler, S. F., Daley, D., Salloum, I., Bishop, S., Najavits, L. M., Lis, J., Mercer, D., Griffin, M. L., Moras, K., & Beck, A. T. (1999). Psychosocial treatments for cocaine dependence: National Institute on Drug Abuse collaborative cocaine treatment study. Archives of General Psychiatry,56(6), 493-502.

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