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Action on Addiction's Annual Research Seminars

Action on Addiction runs a series of annual seminars, inviting people from the social and health fields with a specific interest in addiction issues to discuss ‘hot’ topics.

The purpose of the seminars is to open up a research debate, discuss addiction-related subjects and encourage networking and discussion.

The Action on Addiction 2014 Research Seminar

We are holding our fifth, free annual Research Seminar on 26 March 2014.  (Registration 9.55am, Close – 4.05pm)

‘Mutual Aid Evidence – Who and How?
by Dr John Kelly (Harvard University, USA)

Dr Kelly will be discussing the history, role and effectiveness of mutual-help organisations, who participates and how people may benefit.

The seminar is kindly being hosted by Lloyd & Partners Limited, London

We have a limited number of places, so if you are interested, please register your interest by contacting Amanda Thomson on

Invited Audience

We invite an audience of around 80-100 people from other charities, statutory, academic, clinical and corporate organisations, academics and policy makers. The following organisations have been represented:

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, Essex Drug and Alcohol Team, Imperial College London, RB Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Recovery Committee, Roehampton Priory, various NHS Foundation Trusts, DrugFam, RAPt, the Centre for Social Justice and King’s College London.

Seminars are chaired by Tim Leighton, the Charity's Director of Professional Education and Research, and the 2013 seminar was also chaired by the Charity’s Trustee, Dr Ed Day.  As well as formal presentations, the audience were encouraged to ask questions.

Some everyday challenges for women in recovery from Addiction

The 2013 research seminar took place on 14 March, kindly hosted and supported by Eversheds law firm in the City of London.  It explored the topic of women in recovery and the guest speaker was Professor Joanne Neale, Professor of Public Health at Oxford Brookes University (since moved to King's College London), and Expert Committee member of Action on Addiction.

Professor Neale opened with a discussion of the everyday challenges faced by people in recovery.  She looked at some of the problems that are common in the daily lives of recovering drug users of both genders, including issues around health, self-care, sleeping, eating, parenting and re-building family relationships.

She went on to examine some of the differences between the sexes in confronting these challenges.  Drawing on examples from her qualitative study 'The Everyday Lives of Recovering Heroin Users', she highlighted women's ability to build strong, drug-free friendships and reconnect with family in recovery, as well as other differences inlcuding attitudes towards parenting and weight gain.

Delegates then heard from Tina, a recovering heroin addict, who gave a moving personal account of her experiences of addiction and recovery.  To conclude her talk, Professor Neale looked at the social, physical, human and cultural resources available to women in recovery, highlighting their strength and resourcefulness and challenging the commonly-held view that women encounter more obstacles in recovery than men.  Professor Neale finished with a call for greater recognition of the similarities between people in recovery and other members of society, as a means of reducing the stigma surrounding addiction.

Professor Neale's research findings were submitted, and have now been published, as a paper in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

The paper is called "Gender sameness and difference in recovery from heroin dependence:  A qualitative exploration" by Joanne Neale, Sarah Nettleton, Lucy Pickering.

"Acknowledgements:  The Everyday Lives of Recovering Heroin Users study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant Number RES-062-23-1016: A sociological investigation into the everydaylives of recovering heroin users). The authors wish to thank the ESRC; all of the research participants; staff from all services who assisted with recruitment; and Nick Barton, CEO of the UK charity Action on Addiction, who suggested that we review our data to explore the role of gender in recovery processes. We are also indebted to Cameron Duff and three anonymous reviewers who provided very helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript."

Please follow this link to read the research paper from the International Journal of Drug Policy.

Action on Addiction's Research Seminar

Recovery as an intervention, recovery as a movement

Our third research seminar was held at the Wellcome Trust on 29 March 2012.  This year’s speaker was Professor Keith Humphreys from Stanford University, School of Medicine, USA who carries out research into substance misuse and psychiatric disorders.

Research Seminar Panel

(L to R) The Research Seminar Panel:  Professor Keith Humphreys, Tim Leighton and Dr Ed Day)

Professor Humphreys' talk was entitled ‘Recovery as an intervention, recovery as a movement’. He discussed the origins of the recovery movement, including the rise of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step organisations and there was a lively debate about traditional treatments and recovery-oriented interventions – and whether combining these may actually be the best of both worlds in aiding individuals’ recovery.

Previous Speakers

Professor Willliam L White from Chestnut Health Systems in Illinois who has over 35 years experience in the addiction field, spoke at the inaugural seminar which was co-hosted by WiredIn (another substance misuse charity) and held at the Hilton Green Park, London. The subject of the presentation was ‘Recovery Advocacy, Recovery Management and Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care’.

In March 2011, Professor Jim Orford held a research seminar entitled ‘Time to Ask the Right Questions in the Right Way: A New Direction for Treatment Research’ at the Wellcome Trust in Central London, which covered the varying types and shortcomings of research and how research methods may be improved.

Jim Orford is a well-respected Emeritus Professor of Clinical and Community Psychology and Head of the Alcohol, Drugs, Gambling and Addiction Research Group in the School of Psychology at The University of Birmingham, and has researched and written extensively about alcohol and drug problems.


In the returned evaluations of all three seminars, the audience described the seminars as thought-provoking’ and ‘stimulating’ and ‘engaging’.

For further information, please contact Amanda Thomson on 0300 330 0659 or email her on


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Action on Addiction is a company limited by guarantee registered in England | Company Number 05947481 Registered Charity Number 1117988
Registered office: Action on Addiction, Head Office, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6BE