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Seattle Lawmakers Pushing Program That Gives Addicts Gift Cards For Not Using Drugs

Seattle, WA – Seattle city officials have proposed using taxpayer dollars to provide financial incentives to methamphetamine addicts who agree to enroll in a 12-week drug intervention program.

Participants would be required to submit to drug testing two times per week, FOX News reported.

Each time they test negative for methamphetamine, they would receive a voucher or gift card as a reward.

The reward value would increase each time the participant tests negative for drug use, FOX News reported.

Rewards for participants who test positive or skip out on a scheduled test would revert back to the initial reward amount and rebuild, according to KIRO.

Addicts could receive a total of approximately $300 apiece for participating in the incentive program.

The rate of fatal methamphetamine overdoses in Seattle has skyrocketed over the past five years, MyNorthwest reported.

As many as 318 methamphetamine addicts have died from overdoses in Seattle so far this year.

The city’s version of the “contingency management” incentive program is the brainchild of Seattle City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis, who requested the Seattle Auditor’s Office compile a report about the city’s methamphetamine trends, MyNorthwest reported.

“In Seattle, we estimate that nearly 3,800 people ages 18 and over suffer from methamphetamine use disorder, based on 2020 data,” the report reads. “Recent survey data suggest that a significant number of these individuals might be interested in treatment to reduce or stop their methamphetamine use, especially if the treatment is easy to get.”

The report touted incentive-based “Contingency Management” programs as being “broadly effective,” but noted additional research is needed to ensure those programs “evolve over time…and measure long-term abstinence,” MyNorthwest reported.

The city has already launched a pilot program using the incentive program with approximately 45 participants.

A program in Walla Walla also recently used an eight-week contingency management program to help methamphetamine addicts, The Seattle Times reported.

Between 30 and 40 people initially expressed interest in the program, but only eight followed through.

Two of those eight finished the program, and one maintained sobriety afterwards, according to The Seattle Times.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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