Researcher project REVE-DROOM (Drug consumption rooms) – Orthopedagogiek

Posted 4 months ago

 →   Apply before 25/08/2023 (DD/MM/YYYY) 23:59 (Brussels Time)
   →   Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences  
   →  Department: PP10 – Orthopedagogiek
   →  Occupancy rate:80%
   →  Number of positions: 1    
   →  Type of employment: Contract of limited duration 
   →  Term of assignment: 12 maanden 
   →  Wage scale:  PD1 to PD4 (doctoral degree) 
   →  Required diploma: PhD 


Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.


Drug consumption rooms (DCRs) are public health facilities that provide a hygienic and non-judgemental environment where people who use drugs (PWUD) can consume pre-obtained drugs and under the supervision of care professionals (1). As such, they constitute a highly specialised service oriented towards harm reduction and the social reintegration of highly deprived and at-risk PWUDs (2). In the more than 35 years of DCR international existence, much evidence has been accumulated about their effects, particularly in four domains that were consistently explored. First, many studies indicated that DCRs were associated with a decrease of mortality and morbidity rates in the population of PWUDs, e.g. a decrease of overdose incidents in Vancouver (3) and Germany (1, 4), decrease of emergency visits related to opioid intoxication in Sydney (5), and lower rates of HIV positivity in frequent DCR users (6). Second, the most notable association measured was related to risky consumption behaviours, such as such as injection, syringe sharing, syringe reuse, and consumption in public places. For instance, in their meta-analysis based on studies held in Sydney and Vancouver, Potier and colleagues indicated higher adjusted odds ratios for syringe sharing in DCR users against non-users (aOR=0.30), and for less often reusing syringes for regular DCR users against non-regular users (aOR=2.04) (2, 7, 8). Third, environmental effects of DCRs on their neighbourhood were investigated, including public safety, the reduction of the drug scene, i.e. drug consumption in public places, public nuisances (e.g. the decrease of discarded material), and the decrease of local criminality. For instance, the establishment of DCRs in Vancouver, Sydney, and Barcelona were all associated with a decrease of discarded material in their surroundings (4). Fourth, the characteristics of the population of DCR users and the capacity of DCR to contribute to recovery and rehabilitation these PWUD, including access to other social and care services, was also explored (4, 8, 9).

The current study aims to evaluate these effects in the newly established drug consumpion rooms in Brussels and Liège and to assess its potential impact on addiction recovery.


The researcher is responsible for executing work package 3 that applies a CBPR-methodology:

(WP3) Community-based participatory research with peers about recovery pathways:

  • This WP focuses on drug use patterns, risk behaviours, support needs and ways/places of drug administration among persons who inject use drugs (PWUD) in four major cities in Belgium: Brussels, Liège, Antwerp and Ghent. For this purpose, a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach will be applied in which peers/PWUD will be trained and prepared to collect information among a very hard to reach population, namely persons who use/inject drugs in a risky way and who are not regularly in touch with drug, health and or social services. This at-risk, hard to reach population is exactly the target population of the DCRs seen in other countries. The CBPR approach offers an interesting natural case to assess and compare drug use and risk behaviours and met/unmet support needs among PWUD in these four Belgian cities, two of which are providing a DCR and two of which that do not do so. Our assumption is that all four settings are confronted with similar practices and challenges.
  • A hierarchical study design will be used to roll out the CBPR method, which will be coordinated and supervised by an experienced researcher from the Addiction & Recovery research group (Department of Special Needs Education) at UGent. In each city, a local coordinator will be appointed with close ties with local drug use/health care organizations and the targeted population. These coordinators will be in charge of coordinating the research at city level (recruitment, selection, planning), for supervising training and supporting community researchers and facilitating focus groups with local stakeholders. In each city, 2-4 community researchers will be selected in close collaboration with local harm reduction services (methadone substitution programmes, needle exchange points, …). The community researchers are part of the target population and will be selected based on some specific criteria (been in touch with the organisation for a long period, willing to perform this type of interviews, discrete about contacts with other PWUDs, …).These community researchers will be in direct contact with the targeted population, will conduct and record the interviews and provide the research data to the local coordinators. The community researchers are part of the target population and will be selected based on some specific criteria (been in touch with the organisation for a long period, willing to perform this type of interviews, discrete about contacts with other PWUDs, …). As the local coordinators and community researchers have good contacts with the target population, but miss methodological and research expertise, they will be prepared and trained intensively to conduct community-based research in an ethical and methodologically valid way. In each city, we aim to recruit at least 20 PWUD who are – for various reasons – at risk of not being served appropriately by available services and who (representing the diversity of PWUD in the city in terms of gender, …), type of substance use and age.
  • This job vacancy is linked to a similar vacancy about the same project in department RE23.


  • You hold a higher university degree (PhD) in the field of Psychology and Educational Sciences or other human and social sciences



Apply online through the e-recruitment system before the application deadline (see above). We do not accept late applications or applications that are not submitted through the online system.

Your application must include the following documents:

  • In the field ‘CV’: your CV and an overview of your study results (merged into one pdf file)
  • In the field ‘Cover letter’: your application letter in pdf format
  • In the field ‘Diploma’: a transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession). If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.

Note that the maximum file size for each field is 10 MB.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.


For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Wouter Vanderplasschen ( Important: do NOT send your application by email, but apply online.

Do you have a question regarding the online application process? Please read our FAQ or contact helpdesk ( – tel. 09/264 98 98)

Do you have a question regarding the online application process? Please read our FAQ or contact helpdesk ( – tel. 09/264 98 98)

Job Features

Job CategoryTeaching and scientific research

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