Born and brought up in a close-knit poor working class area of Liverpool (Anfield), second eldest of five children, my mother is a local girl from Toxteth, Liverpool, while my father, was a passionate and deeply committed Trade Unionist Irishman. He died of a sudden heart attack, when I was twelve years old. This unexpected life change provided a ‘rich’ (but unwanted) experience and insight into poverty, marginalisation and deprivation and it placed our family unit at risk.
Disenchanted, disengaged and struggling with the rigidity and conformity of education, I left aged 16 with few qualifications, but I retained a strong interest in social welfare, justice and inequality and managed to secure employment at Liverpool Social Services in 1974. Employment provided an excellent foundation for negotiating a difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood, while the employer funded day-release study helped me to realise the benefits of lifelong adult education. After moving through the ranks of a number of administrative and managerial posts in Social Services I pursued a new career in social work when I joined the Merseyside Probation Service and qualified as a social worker/probation officer at Liverpool University in 1983.
In the mid 1980s I worked at the ‘coalface’ as a drugs worker at a time when the country was overwhelmed by the ‘heroin epidemic‘ and was instrumental in conceptualizing and promoting an alternative ‘risk reduction’ approach (Buchanan & Wyke 1987) challenging the dominant abstinence approach. Our risk reduction philosophy was adopted by Merseyside Probation in a new drug policy document and as a founder member of one of the largest multi-agency community drugs teams in the UK (the South Sefton Drugs Team) – we provided a full range of harm reduction services: free needle exchanges, free condoms, methadone and heroin maintenance prescribing, injectable prescribing, prison relapse prevention, access to detox beds, acupuncture, residential rehabs and counselling.
I left probation work to further my research and writing as Lecturer at Liverpool University, then Senior Lecturer at University of Central Lancashire (England) and Glyndwr University (Wales) where I was eventually appointed Professor. In 2011 pursuing a lifestyle change I moved to the Institute of Criminology Victoria University of Wellington, (New Zealand).
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 international conferences on these issues, acted as expert assessor for international journals and worked as a Consultant and Independent Expert for the UNODC.
I retired in January 2016.
- Specialist Assessor: Criminology & Criminal Justice (Sage)
- Specialist Assessor: Addiction Research and Theory (Informa)
- Specialist Assessor: International Journal of Drug Policy (Elsevier)
- Specialist Assessor: Journal of Youth Studies (Routledge)
- Specialist Assessor: Policy & Politics Journal (Policy Press)
- Specialist Assessor: Journal of Social Policy (Cambridge Journals)
- Specialist Assessor / Ex-Deputy Editor: Probation Journal (Sage Publications)
- Editorial Advisory Board Member: British Journal of Community Justice
- Series Editor: Issues in Criminal & Community Justice Monographs (ICCJ)
- Independent Expert for UNODC, Vienna, Austria
- Consultant, UNDOC, Vienna, Austria
- External Examiner for Addiction Studies, Trinity College, Dublin
- External Examiner for the MA Criminal Justice, Liverpool John Moore’s University
- External Examiner for PhD Viva Keele University ‘Social capital, probationers and drug interventions’
- Independent Scientific Opinion Health Research Board (Ireland) An Bord Taighde Sláinte ‘Social reintegration and drug use’
- PhD Supervisor and Examiner
- Independent Scientific Opinion, Department of Health (England) Policy Research Programme, ‘Early Exit: Estimating and explaining early exit from drug treatment’
- External Assessor, Hope University, 5 year review, BA Criminology
- External Assessor, Hope University, 5 year review, MA Criminal Justice
- HSCSR Studentship Award Scheme External Referee, Northern Ireland Research & Development Office
- VIDEO 30mins: Barriers to Recovery: Exclusion, Stigma & Discrimination
- PODCAST 60mins: Ending Prohibition with a Hangover?
- PODCAST 60mins: Is the harm caused by drugs or drug policy?
- Film Exchange on Alcohol and Drugs: Nine short videos
- Examining Drugs, Crime and Criminalisation: An Online Prezi Presentation
- Research Repository: Articles for download
- Ideas Wales Think Tank: Imagining a Drug Policy Fit for Purpose
- Drug Testing Technology Damaging Policy and Practice
- New Labour’s Drug Policy Legacy
- Julian Buchanan CPA, CQSW, , MA, FHEA, PhD
- Email: email@example.com
- Employer: http://vuw.academia.edu/JulianBuchanan/Research_Interests
- Twitter: @julianbuchanan
- Online Mag: Drugs, Society, Harm Rights & Justice
- Facebook: Drugs, Society, Harm Reduction & Human Rights