Background:Alcohol and drug disorders remain major health and social problems in Australia, contributing enormously to the global burden of disease and the everyday practice of primary care. A recent growth in recovery research and recovery focused policies are starting to have an impact in Australia, with implications for how we attempt to resolve these problems.
Objective:In this article we discuss recent international findings in recovery research, and explore their implications for primary care.
Discussion:Research indicates that over half of dependent substance users will eventually achieve stable recovery. Key predictors of recovery are active engagement in the community and immersion in peer support groups and activities. Recovery requires a twin track approach: enabling and supporting individual recovery journeys, while creating environmental conditions that enable and support a ‘social contagion’ of recovery, in which recovery is transmitted through supportive social networks and dedicated recovery groups, such as mutual aid.