[Skip to Navigation]
July 1975

A Behavioral Intervention Program for Chronic Public Drunkenness Offenders

Author Affiliations

From the Veterans Administration Center and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1975;32(7):915-918. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1975.01760250107012

A reinforcement contingency management system for ten chronic public drunkenness offenders was evaluated for short-term effects. Chronic inebriates were provided with required goods and services through skid row community agencies contingent on their sobriety. Intoxication resulted in a five-day suspension of all goods and services. Excessive drinking behavior was assessed by direct observations of intoxication and by randomly administered breath alcohol analyses.

As a result of this intervention, subjects substantially decreased their number of public drunkenness arrests and their alcohol consumption, and increased their number of hours employed. No such changes were observed in a control group that received services on a noncontingent basis. Longer-term research studies of one to two years rather than a few months would be required before any widespread use of this approach would be warranted.

Add or change institution