Research and references

We try to follow best practice in all that we do. We consult widely with current and former drug users, those working in addiction services, policy-makers and strategists to make sure that our services meet the needs of recovering drug users.

The Soilse programme is rooted in formal and informal research.

1992 – Soilse was set up specifically to meet drug users' social and occupational needs. This followed a shift in government policy in 1991 to give greater emphasis to vocational rehabilitation (Government Strategy to Prevent Drug Misuse, May 1991).

Widespread consultation with former drug users, addiction services, policy-makers and strategists identified the need for:

  • a holistic response spanning health, social, financial, legal, accommodation and vocational issues,
  • staff competence in addiction and social exclusion,
  • personal care planning, and
  • an adult education approach to programme delivery.

Each of these points was incorporated into the Soilse programme and approach.

1994 – research by Harrison at the Centre for Adult and Community Education, NUI Maynooth evaluated and endorsed the Soilse programme. As a result, Soilse was mainstreamed.

1996 – further research by Harrison at NUI Maynooth, funded by the European Social Fund's Leonardo programme, addressed vocational aptitudes and capabilities of those on methadone clinics, with specific reference to Soilse participants. It found that social disadvantage adversely affected career potential and that a lack of formal development made people more likely to be involved with drugs.

1997 – Soilse was represented on the Lord Mayor's Commission on Drugs (1997) which recommended a comprehensive care matrix and progression route as the preferred option for those in addiction services.

2000 – Soilse piloted HYPER magazine which was evaluated externally (Donohue 2000).

2000 – Soilse was evaluated as part of a joint project involving the former Eastern Health Board and the Arts Council which addressed arts and creativity in a health context (Finlay 2000). This influenced the 2003 government policy on arts.

2000 – Soilse's partnership with The Rutland Centre (combining rehabilitation and treatment) was evaluated by Dr Mark Morgan on behalf of the National Drug Strategy Team and mainstreamed as a Category A project.

1996 – 2000. Soilse contributed to policy development (namely the Eastern Regional Committee on Rehabilitation, 1996). It was mentioned in government reports (1996) and in the review of rehabilitation models by McKeown (1998) as "being noted for its excellence". Soilse was represented on the Eastern Health Board Rehabilitation Blueprint (1999) and addressed the first EU-wide conference on addiction rehabilitation in 2000, representing Ireland.

2004 – 2006. Soilse contributed to the Bruce (2004) and Lawless (2006) reports. Bruce called for an integrated, holistic approach to rehabilitation which Lawless qualified as being secured through inter-agency collaboration.

2007 The Report of the Working Group on Rehabilitation (2007) endorsed inter-agency co-operation, calling for an interconnected service based on care planning, case management and inter-agency protocols. It was the first time that rehabilitation was noted as a strategy within the national drugs strategy.

2007 – Keane (2007) suggested that the greatest individual barrier to work and progress was continued illicit drug use. He quoted Buchanan (2004) who said drug users were confined below a wall of exclusion marked by chaos and ambivalence and that drug services needed to be concerned with reorientation and reintegration.

2008 – Soilse and the Health Research Board were involved in an exploratory study of the progression pathways to social inclusion for 50 recovering drug users.

2008 – The concept of recovery began to take root, initially in Scotland.

2008 – Reports by Cloud and Granfield, White and Cloud, and Best and Laudet established a robust evidence base for the concept of recovery.

2010 – The National Drugs Rehabilitation Framework attempts to get a uniform way of working between services, thus maximising the chances for progression.

2010 – England follows Scotland's lead and supports the concept of recovery.

2011 – In pioneering research involving in-depth interviews with 20 former Soilse participants, Keane outlined the role of education in developing recovery capital.

2011 – A study of people on methadone maintenance in northeast Dublin criticised the limitations of service provision and made positive recommendations for improvement.

2012 – A seminal piece of research in the UK showed how medication can be tailored to support progress in recovery.

2013 – In Dublin, the north city and county drug services propose to reframe addiction services to a recovery model.

2014 – A report by Keane and others drawing on the work of Soilse illustrated the research, theory and principles of recovery and how they could be successfully applied in a practice context.



Best, D. and Laudet, A. (2010): The potential of recovery capital. London: The Royal Society for the Arts.

Bruce, A. (2004): A Review of Drug Task Force Project Activity for FÁS Community Employment and Job Initiative Participants, FÁS.

Buchanan, J. (2004): "Missing Lives? Problem Drug Use and Social Exclusion", Journal of Community and Criminal Justice, J1 (4) 387 - 393.

Cloud, W. and Granfield, R. (2008): Conceptualising recovery capital: expansion of a theoretical construct. Substance Use and Misuse, 43 (112-13): 1971-86.

Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs (Pompidou Group) (2000): Vocational rehabilitation for drug users in Europe: proceedings. Council of Europe, Strasbourg.

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, (2007): Report of the Working Group on Drug Rehabilitation.

Donoghue (2000): Hyper: A report on the pilot phase of the project. Dublin: Soilse.

Doyle, J. and Ivanovic, J. (2010): National Drugs Rehabilitation Framework. Dublin: Health Service Executive.

Eastern Health Board (1999): Rehabilitation Blueprint Report.

Eastern Regional Committee on Rehabilitation (1996). Unpublished report.

Finlay, Sarah (2000): No Drug Can Do That. Unpublished report.

Harrison, F. (1996): Report on the Development of a Career Guidance Counselling Service in the Soilse Project. Centre for Adult and Community Education, St Patrick's College, Maynooth.

Harrison, F. and McCormack D (1994) The Soilse Project Evaluation, Centre for Adult and Community Education, St Patrick's College, Maynooth.

Her Majesty's Government (2010): Reducing demand, restricting supply, building recovery: Supporting people to live a drug-free life. London: Her Majesty's Government.

Horizon (1992): Operational Programme for Disabled and Disadvantaged, Ireland.

Ireland (1991): Government Strategy to Prevent Drug Misuse, Department of Health, Eastern Health Board.

Keane, M. (2007): Social Reintegration as a Response to Drug Use in Ireland, Overview 5, DMRD, HRB Dublin.

Keane, M. (2011): The role of education in developing recovery capital in recovery from substance addiction. Dublin: Soilse Drug Rehabilitation Project.

Keane, M., McAleenan, G. and Barry, J. (2014): Addiction Recovery: A contagious paradigm!: A case for the re-orientation of drug treatament services and rehabilitation services in Ireland. Dublin: Soilse.

Lawless, K. (2006): Listening and Learning: Evaluation of a Special Community Employment Programme in Dublin North East, Dublin North East Drug Task Force.

Lord Mayor of Dublin's Commission on Drugs (1997) Dublin Corporation.

McKeown, K. (1998): Proposal for a Drug Rehabilitation Centre in the Canal Communities and South Inner City: A Feasibility Study. Social and Economic Research Consultants.

Morgan, M (2000): Evaluation of the Soilse / Rutland Partnership, National Drug Strategy Team, unpublished paper.

Pilling, S. and Hardy, R. (2013): Review of the Dublin North City and County Addiction Service. Dublin: Psychological Interventions Research Centre and University College London.

Recovery-Orientated Drug Treatment Expert Group. Medications in recovery: Reorienting drug dependence treatment. United Kingdom: National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse.

Scottish Government (2008): The Road to Recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland's Drug Problem. Edinburgh: the Scottish Government.

Van Hout, MC and Bingham, T. (2011): Holding pattern: An exploratory study of the lived experiences of those on methadone maintenance in Dublin North East. Dublin: Dublin North East Drugs Task Force.

White, W. and Cloud, W. (2008): Recovery Capital: A primer for addiction professionals. Counselor, 9 (5):22-27.

Working Group on Drug Rehabilitation (2007): National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008: Rehabilitation. Report of the Working Group on Drug Rehabilitation. Dublin: Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs