A three-country study of pathways to recovery from problematic drug use: Background and overview
The notion of ‘recovery’ is gaining ground in research literature on persons with substance use problems and has become an important objective of treatment and policies in various European countries. Although much of the research has been performed in the USA and Australia, research in Europe - in particular international comparative studies - is missing in this area. This first presentation describes the rationale, conceptual foundations and methods for the Recovery Pathways study (REC-PATH), a prospective cohort study in the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands aimed to map pathways to recovery from problematic drug use and the role of contextual and societal factors.
American authors have suggested recovery rates up to 50-58% for substance use disorders (Sheedy & Whitter, 2009; White, 2012), indicating that recovery is possible. The importance of formal behaviour change mechanisms (e.g. residential or outpatient treatment) for recovery has often been emphasized, but recent research by Kelly and colleagues (2017) suggests an at least equally important role for peer-based models like self-help and 12-step group participation. Therefore, the ongoing REC-PATH) study examines how different mechanisms of behaviour change impact on recovery pathways. This three-year European research project, funded by ERANID, started in 2017 and combines quantitative and qualitative research methods.