Commentary: Charging into Recovery – Is Cash Really a Gateway Drug?
By TRI David Festinger, PhD; Karen Dugosh, PhD; Ashley Harron | October 26, 2012
A recent article published in numerous outlets announced the debut of a special credit card for recovering substance abusers.
The card, referred to as Next Step, purports to help addicts stay clean and sober by shielding them from the powerful cravings elicited by cash. The pre-paid credit card prevents the user from making purchases at liquor stores, bars, escort services, casinos, tattoo parlors, and piercing shops. It also restricts the user from making ATM cash withdrawals or receiving cash back when making purchases. The article extols the virtues of the card and refers to cash as a “gateway drug” and a trigger for substance use.
Although the field of addiction treatment is always in need of new ideas and helpful tools, it is critical that the ideas/tools be based upon sound research. The idea that “cash in hand” is a trigger for drug use has long been an area of critical debate. Common sense suggests that cash, which is used to purchase drugs, “must” be a precursor and trigger to substance use and relapse. Read More…