Ms Maike Klein

I am a PhD student at the University of Bath, researching drug service users’ lived experiences of repeated relapse during recovery from substance misuse. The aims of this project are to contribute new understanding of relapse/relapse-prevention to inform policy and practice and, subsequently, to reduce the risk of future relapse.

I hold a Master of Research (MRes) in Social Work degree from the University of Bath, a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from East Tennessee State University, USA and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Louisville, USA. I have clinical experience of working as a therapist in residential treatment facilities for co-occurring mental health and substance misuse disorders in the US. I continue to volunteer and work within a local community substance misuse service to obtain accreditation from the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP).

‘Recovery’ in UK drug policy: A comparative policy-as-discourse analysis of England, Wales and Scotland

‘Recovery’ in UK Drug Policy: A Comparative Policy-as-Discourse Analysis of England, Wales and Scotland

Aims: The notion of recovery is central to drug policy but remains contested. This study aims at critically interrogating how drug policies construct recovery in the UK and to providing transparency about how these constructs affect policy-making and service provision.

Method: We applied Bacchi ‘s (2009) What ‘s the Problem Represented to Be? (WPR) approach to the latest English, Welsh and Scottish drug strategy to compare problematizations between these jurisdictions and to provide recommendations for practice and research. The analysis specifically focused on Bacchi ‘s (2009) first two questions by (1) investigating what recovery is represented to be and by discovering (2) what premises must have been in place for these representations to be shaped.

Results: Three dominant themes were identified: 1) recovery as ‘ product ‘ which problematizes treatment interventions and service provisions; 2) recovery as ‘ teamwork ‘ which problematizes collaboration among various social service sectors; and 3) recovery as ‘ goal ‘ which problematizes the personal ambitions of the service user Findings suggest that the problematizations derived from recovery representations in UK ‘s drug policies govern the ways in which service users are supported by the community throughout their recovery from problematic drug use.

Conclusion: We conclude that policy analysts and practitioners must become cognizant of how policy frames recovery, so that a transformation of ‘ evidence-based policy ‘ into ‘ evidence-based problems ‘ as well as the provision of overly reductive interventions can be prevented, and so that a feasible implementation of future policies into practice can be guaranteed.


Dr Jeremy Dixon, Lecturer in Social Work, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, Bath, UK

Conflicts of interest:

The authors report no conflict of interest.