Current Drug Abuse Reviews

Joris C. Verster,
Utrecht University Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences
Division of Pharmacology
Utrecht
The Netherlands

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Quantifying Reinforcement Value and Demand for Psychoactive Substances in Humans

Author(s): Adrienne J. Heinz, Todd C. Lilje, Jon D. Kassel and Harriet de Wit

Affiliation: Center for Health Care Evaluation - Palo Alto VA, USA.

Keywords: Addiction, alcohol, behavioral economics, delay discounting, demand, drugs, impulsivity, nicotine, reinforcement

Abstract:

Behavioral economics is an emerging cross-disciplinary field that is providing an exciting new contextual framework for researchers to study addictive processes. New initiatives to study addiction under a behavioral economic rubric have yielded variable terminology and differing methods and theoretical approaches that are consistent with the multidimensional nature of addiction. The present article is intended to provide an integrative overview of the behavioral economic nomenclature and to describe relevant theoretical models, principles and concepts. Additionally, we present measures derived from behavioral economic theories that quantify demand for substances and assess decision making processes surrounding substance use. The sensitivity of these measures to different contextual elements (e.g., drug use status, acute drug effects, deprivation) is also addressed. The review concludes with discussion of the validity of these approaches and their potential for clinical application and highlights areas that warrant further research. Overall, behavioral economics offers a compelling framework to help explicate complex addictive processes and it is likely to provide a translational platform for clinical intervention.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 5
ISSUE: 4
Page: [257 - 272]
Pages: 16
DOI: 10.2174/1874473711205040002