At the moment I am engaged in research to consider the impact of ‘legal highs’, or more accurately novel psychoactive substances (NPS) on services. In addition I am currently writing up a number of papers for publication including the results of research evaluating the impact of Drug Recovery Wings in UK prisons (funded by the UK Department of Health). My next project will be a study of the claimed gateway effects associated with the use of electronic cigarettes. This will be a qualitative study involving interviews with young people using e-cigarettes.
Biography: My first degree was in Anthropology at the University of Durham (1993-1997) where I was awarded an Upper Second. Then I moved to Glasgow University and in 1992 was awarded my doctoral thesis.
My research career has been shaped by the challenges of doing research with people who live on the fringes of society. When I began I spent years working closely with drug injectors to try to understand their risk taking around needle sharing and sexual risk. My Ph.D (1992) focussed on how gender shaped the risk behaviours of men and women who injected drugs.
I went onto carry out in-depth work with men and women who use prostitution as a means of earning a living. Some of this research was based on understanding how HIV/AIDS risks might intersect with this kind of work, a great deal of it was also focused on considering the violence that women working on the street or in saunas and massage parlours have to confront.
More recently I was involved in research to consider the many deleterious impacts of drug misuse on families. As part of this I interviewed parents who have children with drug problems and the siblings of brothers and sisters for whom drug misuse is a problem. Perhaps most noteworthy has been my research with children of parents with drug problems and the difficulties these children face in growing up well.
All of this work has been published in many academic journals as well as reported at conferences, in newspapers, on the radio and on television. I am co-author of 2 books and sole author of one other book.
My particular expertise lies in qualitative interviewing although I have been involved too in a number of quantitative studies such as investigating the reported prevalence of drug use among rural and urban schoolchildren in the private and public sector in Angus and Dundee city.