Recovery Capital; Definitions, science and the impact of COVID

Dr. David Best
Recovery Capital; Definitions, science and the impact of COVID

The presentation will provide an overview of the concept of recovery capital and its three component parts – personal, social and community capital. The paper will discuss the origins of recovery capital as a concept and its emergence as a measurement system and an organising framework. The presentation will then discuss the growing evidence base around recovery capital measurement and in particular the use of the REC-CAP measurement system and its translation to routine practice in both community and justice settings. The next section of the presentation will focus on community capital and how it can be nurtured using the example of the Recovery Cities initiative. The final section will discuss some key innovations around online groups and supports and how they have evolved in response to the COVID crisis.

Learning Objectives

  • A clear understanding of the origins of the concept of recovery capital and how this can be operationalised
  • An understanding of recovery capital measurement systems and how they can be used to support recovery growth and wellbeing
  • An understanding of the role of communities in supporting individual endeavours to sustain recovery


Best, D. (2019) Pathways to desistance and recovery: The role of the social contagion of hope. Policy Press: Bristol.

Best, D. & Colman, C. (eds)(2019) Strengths-based approaches to crime and substance use: From drugs and crime to desistance and recovery. Routledge: London.

Hamilton, S., Maslen, S., Best, D., Freeman, J., O’Donnell, M., Reibel, T., Mutch, R. & Watkins, R (2020) Putting ‘justice’ in recovery capital: Yarning about hopes and futures with young people in detention, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, (early online)

Cano, I., Best, Edwards, M. & Lehman, J. (2017) Recovery capital pathways: Mapping the components of recovery wellbeing, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 181, 11-19.

Edwards, M., Soutar, J. & Best, D. (2018) Co-producing and re-connecting: a pilot study of recovery community engagement, Drugs and Alcohol Today, 18(1), 39-50.

Dr. Best is Professor of Criminology at the University of Derby and Honorary Professor of Regulation and Global Governance at The Australian National University. He is also chair of the Prisons Research Network of the British Society of Criminology. Trained as a psychologist and criminologist, he has worked in practice, research and policy in the areas of addiction recovery and rehabilitation of offenders. He has authored or co-edited seven books on addiction recovery and desistance from offending and has written more than 200 peer-reviewed journal publications and around 70 book chapters and technical reports. In 2019, he has produced a monograph entitled “Pathways to Desistance and Recovery: The role of the social contagion of hope” (Policy Press) and a co-edited volume entitled “Strength-based approaches to crime and substance use” (Routledge). His research interests include recovery pathways, recovery capital and its measurement, social identity theory and its implications for recovery, recovery and resistance, addiction treatment effectiveness particularly in prison settings, prison and community connections, and family experiences of addiction and recovery.

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About the Conference

This one-day Recovery Capital Virtual Conference will include:

  • Expert Speakers presenting on Assessing and how to build Recovery Capital, the Science of Recovery,  and other related topics.
  • Earn CEUs
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Full Conference Experience using the WHOVA App


Full Speaker Program

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