Ghent as an inclusive city for people in recovery from drug addiction: a career dating event for people in recovery and employers

01 January 2023 → 31 December 2023
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Correctional theory, offender treatment and rehabilitation
    • Youth and life course criminology
employment Inclusion Recovery Drug addiction Drug policy
Project description

Drug addiction and recovery have been extensively studied. From this research, we know that most individuals who develop an addiction are able to recover from it.

Research shows that (stable) recovery can be explained by a combination of three factors. Personal factors such as age or internal motivation. Social factors such as a partner, child, a parent who motivates the person to recover. Societal factors, such as access to housing or the labor market, to increase the chances of (stable) recovery. We know from research that societal factors are crucial in persisting recovery. After all, there is a big difference between wanting to recover and being able to recover . But the role of society in recovery is not obvious. After all, research shows that people in recovery experience stigma, discrimination and limited access to the labor market, stable housing or social capital, negatively impacting the chance of (stable) recovery.

To promote the role of society in recovery, Prof. David Best (University of Leeds) and I have launched the concept of “ Inclusive Recovery Cities ” based on theoretical principles and practical experience (Best & Colman, 2019).

The central objective of “Inclusive recovery cities” consists of two components:

  • A first component is making recovery visible and discussable .
  • A second component is bringing together, working toghether and connecting relevant actors who provide supportive social networks, safe places to live, meaningful activities or roads to employment.

Based on the available (UGent) research and expertise, the city of Ghent has included “Inclusive recovery cities” in its drug policy plan (2020-2025) and has shown the ambition to become an “inclusive recovery city”. 

This marked the start of our main activity, the translation from our central idea to practice: “ Ghent as an inclusive city for people recovering from a drug addiction ”. This main activity is translated into various sub-activities that start from the two central components mentioned above and aim to create impact on an ( evidence-informed) sub-domain of recovery.

The sub-activity to which this MVF applies, is our first sub-activity of 2023: “Career dating for people in recovery and employers”. We know from recovery research that employment is crucial to (persist) recovery, but people in recovery and employers often do not know each other. Through a career dating event, we bring people in recovery eager to work and employers together so that they can learn from each other and can connect. During this sub-activity we plan various sub-actions, linked to specific outputs and outcomes *

  • Sharing general, accessible, information about the role of employment in recovery
  • Sharing testimonials of successful (inter)national projects between people in recovery and employers to inspire
  • Organising a career dating event in which people in recovery and employers interact with each other
  • Distributing information brochures for people in recovery and employers on “work and recovery”, focusing on practical and judicial questions that might arise. These brochures are developed together with the target group and in collaboration with professional actors (including Jobroad and Stad/OCMW Gent).

* A logic model is developed for the (logical) development, monitoring and evaluation of the activity. A logic model provides a visual representation of the actions, required input, intended output and intended outcome. The logic model is also used to identify the qualitative and quantitative indicators and thus used for the monitoring and evaluation of the sub-activities. In this way we can check whether the intended output and impact are being achieved.