I am Professor of Psychology at the University of Strathclyde and Director of the Centre for Applied Social Psychology, although I am now semi-retired. The current interests of the Centre include alcohol use and misuse, the use and misuse of illegal drugs, psychometric and measurement issues in addiction and the nature of addiction itself. My text The Myth of Addiction argues that, although numbers of people experience terrible consequences as a result of substance misuse, in principle everyone is capable of implementing a decision to quit, given appropriate help and support; and conversely, the pharmacology of drugs does not compel use. I am also currently Editor in Chief of the Journal Addiction Research & Theory, though I shall be passing this over to Derek Heim in the near future. In addition to the above the Centre also studies human factors in high risk industries including the nuclear industry, nuclear submarines, the NHS and other high consequence sectors. I am a Board member of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, a member of the executive team of the Scottish Drugs Strategy Delivery Commission and a non-executive director of the Glasgow Council on Alcohol.
All of the above comes as a slight surprise to me since I did not go to University immediately on leaving school, but wished to be a professional racing cyclist. However, I was never good enough. I also pursued, for a number of years, a music career, playing trumpet in a number of bands and groups including features on Humphrey Lyttleton’s BBC Jazz Club, and recorded sessions with such luminaries as Jack Bruce and Jim Mullen. All things considered, the thing I probably get the biggest kick out of is directing Strathclyde University Big Band which continues to surprise and delight me. I still like riding bikes, and between rides I make toy aeroplanes and boats.