Contact:
📞: +44 (0) 20 7733 7194
📱: +44 (0) 7720 438 442
📧: blaine@healthed.org.uk
📩: 42 Dalyell Road, London SW9 9QR, UK

My current professional career, practice and understandings, originated in my two-decades as a secondary school teacher in South London. Coming after a first degree in social sciences, I realised that what was unfolding in front of me was the manifestation of the theoretical and research learning I had absorbed in the previous three years – social stratification, class, race, power, inequality. . . I quickly learnt the importance of and need for explicit attention to the social and affective needs of pupils and students in order to support academic and cognitive learning. It was later in my career that I discovered Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and realised its relevance to formal schooling. These understandings were further developed in my subsequent advisory and consultancy roles.

A major aspect of my learning, through experience and practice, and reading and study, has been about the relationships between individual behaviours and responsibilities; institutional factors; and socio-economic factors – class, to use a term which seems to have fallen into disfavour in recent years. In this respect, I find much to agree with in the work of the UK social epidemiologists – Michael Marmot, Kate Pickett, Richard Wilkinson. As the focus of my work has shifted to drug policy, national and international, I am also seeing the relevancies with international relations and geo-politics. And I am struck by the statement of the Norwegian criminologist Nils Christie that the most dangerous use of drugs is the political.

My moves from education alone towards public health has taught me much about the necessity multi-disciplinary of work and understandings and of the inadequacy of silo thinking: I like to regard myself as a reflective practitioner.  I have used the adage: beware of mono-causal explanations in my practice for many years now, and have been alarmed by some politicians’ insistence on doing precisely that and of their disparagement of ‘experts’ – in my definition, experts are people who know what they are talking about. My most recent work has been around substance use and misuse – I make a conscious distinction – and relevant health and social policy making, locally, nationally, regionally, globally. This work now focusses on writing and editing, making use of my experience, learning and contacts, benefitting from the extension of my professional networks into universities and other research institutions. I attempt to contribute to the UK debate on drug policy reform, a topic both fascinating and frustrating. I maintain my interest in relevant developments in eastern Europe and Denmark.

Key Skills and experience:

  • text, book chapters and article writing, editing and collaboration
  • manuscript editing and consultancy
  • proof reading
  • summarising current professional opinion, research and development
  • providing information, advice, support and encouragement to practitioners and managers