My research work over the past 23 years has explored drug and alcohol misuse in many of its facets. Up to July 2011 I was Professor at the Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow. Although CDMR has now closed we continue a tradition of excellent and high quality research independently.
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 diverse and rich, it 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 HIV associated risk taking around needle sharing and sexual risk. My Ph.D (1992) focussed on how gender shaped the HIV related 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 have been involved in research to consider the many deleterious impacts of drug misuse on families. As part of this I have 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 author of one other book. I believe that as a researcher it is my duty to disseminate research findings to as wide an audience as possible.
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. Different kinds of data gathering suit different kinds of information. The place to begin is always the question that the research wants to answer and from this determining the best means to answer it.