VIDEO 30mins: Barriers to Recovery: Exclusion, Stigma & Discrimination


Born and brought up in a close-knit working class area of Liverpool (Anfield), second eldest of five children, my father died when I was twelve and this provided an unwanted ['rich'] experience of severe poverty and family survival. Disenchanted and disengaged at school, I left aged 17 and with an interest in social welfare/inequality I eventually found employment at Liverpool Social Services in 1974. Employment proved an excellent place to manage my transition from adolescence to adulthood and I realised the importance and enjoyment in further and higher education.

After qualifying as a social worker at Liverpool University in 1983 I joined the Merseyside Probation Service. In the mid late 1980s I worked at the ‘coalface’ as a drugs worker and was instrumental in conceptualizing and promoting a ‘risk reduction’ approach (Buchanan & Wyke 1987) which was adopted by Merseyside Probation in a new drug policy document, I was a founder member of one of the largest multi-agency community drugs teams in the UK – the South Sefton Drugs Team which in the mid 1980s offered a full range of harm reduction services: Free needle exchanges, condoms, methadone and heroin prescribing, injectable prescribing, prison relapse prevention etc.

I left probation work to continue research and writing and worked as lecturer at Liverpool University, before gaining promotion at University of Central Lancashire (England) and Glyndwr University (Wales). I moved to the Institute of Criminology Victoria University of Wellington, (New Zealand) in 2011. Throughout my career I have maintained a strong interest in the interplay between: inequality; crime; problematic drug use; and drug policy/practice. I’ve published widely and addressed numerous conferences on these issues.


Particularly interests include:

  • problem drug use
  • drugs and crime
  • social exclusion and social reintegration
  • criminal justice/injustice
  • racism and the criminal justice system
  • parental drug use
  • drug interventions and treatment
  • online learning

Julian Buchanan CPA, CQSW, DSW, MA, FHEA, PhD

Please note the views expressed are entirely my own and do not represent or reflect my employer


  1. Thank you Julian for your intelligent, relevant and erudite comments. If only the law-makers were so well equipped………………. Piet

  2. I really liked the Prezi (NZ drug policy symposium) you posted on twitter. You named some interesting people from the lake district. Here is a link to show you the house where Thomas De Quincy lived and where Samuel Taylor Coleridge died with Wordsworth by his side. I have an interest in the lives of the poets of the lakes and have been a drug worker since 1995.
    I hope you like it http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2325792

  3. http://www.scoop.it/t/drugs-society/js?format=square&numberOfPosts=6&title=Drugs%20%26%20Society&speed=3&mode=normal&width=300

  4. Hi Julian, love your banner. I think prejudice and discrimination are two important words which need to be brought into the public realm in connection with how society treats drug users. Persecution is another word I like…

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, caste system and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation, imprisonment, fear, or pain are all factors that may establish persecution.

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