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Senior Lecturer in Drug and Alcohol Studies, University of the West of Scotland

I am a senior interdisciplinary researcher and a specialist in researching hidden and hard to reach populations of illegal and illicit drug use.

For 30 years my research activity has centred on enhancing our understanding of how problem drug users experience stigma and discrimination in health and social care services, the impact of police practices on policing the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, with a clear commitment to social justice, health equity and rights based advocacy for marginalised and vulnerable populations.

My research is applied with a focus on increasing understanding of the impact of moral and legal censure on users of drugs controlled within the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and in evaluating drug policy, and drug treatment efficacy. As a highly valued team player I have excellent national and international teaching and research networks. I have collaborated with interdisciplinary subject groups to research gang culture, problem drug using offenders, how illegal drugs users actively avoid contact with treatment and drug enforcement agencies, folk pharmacology, and service user groups. I actively enjoy seeking out opportunities to translate research into action in a variety of ways. Due to my passion for bridging the gaps between policy, practice and research, I am increasingly invited to take part in shaping Scotland drugs policy at UK governmental level.

As a reflective practitioner I underpin my teaching with research researching pedagogical issues with international colleagues from Brazil, Sweden and Greece.

I have lectured extensively across a number of disciplines since 1996, including teaching into undergraduate nursing degree programmes, postgraduate careers guidance, postgraduate social work, postgraduate mental health nursing and postgraduate child protection studies. I taught at Scottish police college Tulliallan on their specialist drug courses between 1996-2010. My teaching expertise is recognised with my appointment to validate the Pg. Certificate in Academic Practice in to validate this through HEA and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and in gaining Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Professional academic roles

1996-1999: part time Lecturer BSc Health Studies

2000-2017 Senior Lecturer MSC Alcohol and Drugs studies, School of MCS.

2017 - Present: Senior Lecturer

I teach into several programmes across UWS. I provide a leadership role in mentoring colleagues to deliver the UWS signature pedagogy using Inquiry Based Learning (IBL). I provide doctoral supervision for PhD students. I provide MSc level supervision for students from interdisciplinary subjects in Applied Social Sciences. I am a member of The Royal Society of Arts, A Senior Fellow of the HEA, member of Society for the study of Addiction, and the Scottish drugs Forum.

I presented to Scottish government at their Scotland futures forum event in 2018, and provided a submission to the Smith Commission, and a written submission to Scottish government on the recent refreshed and updated drugs strategy. I was invited to give evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee in June 2019 at Westminster.

I have various committee responsibilities including Senate level on the UWS student complaints committee. I am Chair of the School of Education and Social Sciences Ethics committee. I am a member of the SDF cross party working group on alcohol and drugs at Scottish parliament.

Work in addiction and therapeutic services

I have worked within the addiction field since 1991, working in a variety of drug services and therapeutic institutions and with a range of drug users. I worked with homeless drug users, in residential rehabilitation Units, and as a drug worker in several Drugs Projects in Glasgow.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in Drug and Alcohol Studies, University of the West of Scotland