REC-PATH & EWODOR CONFERENCE, New date March 25th, 2021 (online conference)

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the insecure situation in many European countries, we have decided to postpone the REC-PATH & EWODOR conference 2020 to March 25th, 2021  1 – 5 pm (GMT) (online conference)


Meanwhile the conference website will be updated regularly and the call for abstracts will remain open until a new deadline that will be announced together with the new conference dates. We encourage you to submit an abstract for an oral presentation or poster despite the postponement of the symposium!

May you all stay safe and healthy!


Addiction Recovery: Pathways, mechanisms of behaviour change and lived experiences from across Europe

The University of Derby, Phoenix Futures (UK) and EWODOR, (European Working group On Drug-recovery Oriented Research) are glad to announce the 2020 REC-PATH & EWODOR symposium on September 30th – October 1st in the historic town of Buxton, Derbyshire, UK. The Recovery Pathways (REC-PATH) project is a 3-year study (2018-2020) that examined different approaches to supporting addiction recovery, including mutual aid, outpatient and residential treatment, in England, Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Findings from this large-scale study will be presented at the bi-annual EWODOR conference that brings together recovery researchers and practitioners from all over Europe and beyond. 

Addiction recovery is a complex, multi-factorial process that is highly individual and takes time. It has been defined as a “voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterised by sobriety, personal health and citizenship” (Betty Ford Institute, 2007, p. 222). Although it is commonly accepted that recovery entails much more than just abstinence, the role of treatment and assisted pathways has been contested recently. A US study (Kelly et al., 2017) demonstrated that 46% of those with a lifetime substance use problem recover without formal treatment or peer support. While the notion of self-defined recovery can be discussed, treatment clearly is not the only pathway to recovery.

The objective of the 2020 REC-PATH & EWODOR conference is to better understand processes of addiction recovery, based on experiences from inside and outside Europe and learning from persons who have used drugs or survived other mental health issues. The role of residential treatment – and drug-free therapeutic programs in particular – will be discussed along the continuum of support systems, as well as the function of other societal responses that promote or may hinder recovery.

Keynote speakers

Following keynote speakers have confirmed participation in the conference:

  • Edward Day, psychiatrist specialized in the treatment of drug and alcohol use disorders and UK National Recovery Champion 2019. He is clinical reader in Addiction psychiatry at the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK.
  • Keith Humphreys, professor of Mental Health Policy, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, US
  • John F. Kelly, professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, US. He is the  founder and director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
  • Mike Slade, professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK

Additional speakers will be announced.


To be announced

Scientific committee

To be announced

Call for abstracts

The EWODOR symposia have a long tradition of research and practice exchange. We welcome quantitative as well as qualitative research contributions, but also historical, philosophical, practitioner and consumer perspectives that relate to the conference theme.

Abstract submissions should include following information:

-      Author(s) and author(s) affiliation(s)

-      Title of the presentation

-      Abstract (max. 250 words)

-      Contact details of corresponding author

When submitting your abstract, please indicate whether you would like your submission to be considered for an oral or a poster presentation. Application forms should be submitted to

The deadline for abstract submission is May 31st, 2020. All applicants will be notified by June 30th 2020.

Venue & accommodation

venueThe 2020 REC-PATH & EWODOR conference will be held on Wednesday September 30th and Thursday October 1st at the Dome of the University of Derby campus in the thermal spa town Buxton, England. Buxton is one of the most popular destinations in the Peak District, famed for its natural water and Georgian architecture. Buxton is accessible within an hour from Manchester International Airport by train and from London in just over two hours.


Due to the corona measures taken internationally, we have decided to postpone conference registration until the end of April. This should allow us to have a better view on the actual situation and implications for the organization of the conference. Registration will normally be open from end of April till early September 2020.


EWODOR, the European Working Group on Drugs Oriented Research, was founded in 1983 by Eric Broekaert (Ghent University, Belgium), Vera Segraeus (Uppsala University, Sweden) and Charles Kaplan and Martien Kooyman (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands) as the scientific branch of the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities (EFTC). Alternately, EFTC and EWODOR have organized annual conferences and symposia, which were used as a forum for international exchange and research about recent developments in TCs and other residential treatment modalities.
There is a long tradition of co-organizing EWODOR conferences with national treatment organizations, which were always hosted by a prestigious university like Aarhus University (Denmark, 2004), University of Oslo (Norway, 2007), University of Stirling (Scotland, 2009), University of Barcelona (Spain, 2011), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece, 2012), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland, 2014), LUMSA University Rome (Italy, 2016) and Ghent University (Belgium, 2018).


REC-PATH (Recovery pathways and societal responses in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium) is an EU-funded study (2017-2020), as part of the second call of the European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs (ERANID). A network of five research institutes across three countries carries out a major piece of research into addiction recovery: University of Derby (David Best), Ghent University (Wouter Vanderplasschen), IVO Addiction Research Institute (Gera Nagelhout & Dike Vande Mheen), University of Manchester (Tim Millar) and University College Ghent (Jessica De Maeyer).
The project aimed to assess variations in recovery policy and practice between England, Scotland, the Netherlands and Belgium, furthering advancement of recovery strategies and interventions on a personal experience level (see also: We mapped pathways to recovery in populations engaging with different mechanisms of behaviour change for recovery - mutual aid, peer-based support, residential and community treatment) or through their own 'natural recovery' endeavours, at different stages of their addiction careers. Over 350 individuals were recruited in early (<1 year), sustained (1-5 years) and stable recovery (>5 years) and these persons were tracked over the course of one year. We used mixed methods to assess recovery capital, social networks and identity, community engagement and societal responses, with a particular focus on gender differences in pathways and trajectories to change. Client experiences of policy and practice change on stigma, access to support and reintegration were also assessed.


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