Implementing contingency management for stimulant use in opioid treatment programs: protocol of a type III hybrid effectiveness-stepped-wedge trial

Sara J. Becker*, Kira DiClemente-Bosco, Kelli Scott, Tim Janssen, Sarah M. Salino, Fariha N. Hasan, Kimberly R. Yap, Bryan R. Garner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Contingency management (CM) is an evidence-based intervention for stimulant use and is highly effective in combination with medication for opioid use disorder. Yet, uptake of CM in opioid treatment programs that provide medication for opioid use disorder remains low. This paradox in which CM is one of the most effective interventions, yet one of the least available, represents one of the greatest research-to-practice gaps in the addiction health services field. Multi-level implementation strategies are needed to address barriers to CM implementation at both the provider- and organization-level. This type III hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to evaluate whether a multi-level implementation strategy, the Science of Service Laboratory (SSL), can effectively promote CM implementation in opioid treatment programs. Specific aims will test the effectiveness of the SSL on implementation outcomes (primary aim) and patient outcomes (secondary aim), as well as test putative mediators of implementation outcomes (exploratory aim). Methods: Utilizing a fully powered type III hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial with a stepped wedge design, we propose to randomize a cohort of 10 opioid treatment programs to receive the SSL across four steps. Each step, an additional 2–3 opioid treatment programs will receive the SSL implementation strategy, which has three core components: didactic training, performance feedback, and external facilitation. At six intervals, each of the 10 opioid treatment programs will provide de-identified electronic medical record data from all available patient charts on CM delivery and patient outcomes. Staff from each opioid treatment program will provide feedback on contextual determinants influencing implementation at three timepoints. Discussion: Between planning of this protocol and receipt of funding, the landscape for CM in the USA changed dramatically, with multiple Departments of Health launching state-wide CM initiatives. We therefore accelerated the protocol timeline and offered some cursory training resources to all sites as a preparation activity. We also began partnering with multiple Departments of Health to evaluate their rollout of CM using the measures outlined in this protocol. Trial registration: This study protocol is registered via Identifier: NCT05702021. Date of registration: January 27, 2023.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Hybrid effectiveness-implementation
  • Implementation
  • Stepped wedge trial
  • Substance use disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics


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