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University Inaugural Lecture to be delivered by the world’s first Professor of Addiction Recovery


Leeds Trinity University’s next Inaugural Professorial Lecture, taking place on Tuesday 14 November from 5.30pm, will be delivered by David Best, the world’s first Professor of Addiction Recovery.


The lecture, titled The social contagion of hope: The role of peers and communities in recovery and rehabilitation, will focus on how and why people can turn their lives around, not only leaving addictions behind but becoming ‘better than well’.

Professor David Best’s work analyses how addictions (alcohol, drug, pornography, sex, gambling, etc) can occur. It also explores why it’s important to work collectively to share expertise, knowledge and skills with a common purpose, to help everyone in society to recover in order to achieve a lasting impact and benefit within communities as a whole. Much of this work also speaks to processes of desistance from crime.

Professor Best’s core project REC-CAP is based on an assessment and planning tool in relation to the bridge to self-directed recovery. There are now more than 200 organisations using the REC-CAP tool, primarily in seven US states.

The REC-CAP model is also currently being used in drug courts in Boston and Rhode Island (New England); Benton County, Everett (Washington State); and Livingston, Billings and Great Falls (Montana). Drug courts are used for offenders who are drug users and addicts and act as an alternative to the mainstream court system providing support to assist people in their recovery efforts.

In his lecture, David will give an insight into his experience of the drug courts where he observed everyone in the room, including the judge, open the proceedings with a rendition of The Serenity Prayer (sung in Maori).

David Best is Professor and Director in the Centre for Addiction Recovery Research (CARR) at Leeds Trinity University. He is also Honorary Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University and Honorary Associate Professor in Eastern Health Clinical School at Monash University in Melbourne.

His work in America has seen David recently appointed as an Affiliate Senior Scientist at the Public Health Institute in the United States.

Alongside these roles he is also Chair of the Prison Research Network of the British Society of Criminology, President of the Recovery Outcomes Institute in Florida, USA, and involved in peer-based prison projects in HMP Wymott and HMP Kirkham.

David is the author or editor of eight books on addiction recovery and has published more than 240 peer-reviewed journal papers. He is also working with a number of PhD students to look at a range of addiction and recovery topics, including gambling, crime and recovery; peer education processes inside prison; and differences in recovery pathways among white, black and Asian women.

David Best said: “I am looking forward to sharing my work with a wider audience. This is applied research that is about hope and regeneration, and it will be a pleasure to talk about the achievements I have witnessed and evidenced in the areas of community building and reintegration.”

Alex Nunn, Dean of Research at Leeds Trinity University, said: “This lecture is an important statement for Leeds Trinity, showcasing our ability to attract research talent with a global reputation. Professor Best’s work places Leeds Trinity University at the forefront of research on addiction recovery. I am pleased that his inaugural lecture here is aligned with the launch of our Centre for Addiction Recovery Research.

“Professor Best’s research profile is central to our research mission. Not only is his research excellent in terms of originality and rigour, but he is also engaged in using that research to generate real world impact in policy and practice. Addiction is a major public policy problem across the world and here in Leeds. I am sure that David’s inaugural lecture will showcase his passion and commitment to use research to improve the lives of people in recovery, benefitting them, their families and wider communities. It is leading the way both in quality and its social justice mission, aligning perfectly with our values-led institutional strategy.”

Anyone who is interested in attending the in-person lecture taking place at the University’s Main Campus in Horsforth (or watching via the online live stream), can do so by booking a free place through the Leeds Trinity website.

Find out more about Professor David Best and his research.

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