Professor Susanne MacGregor


Honorary Professor
of Social Policy

Room 209

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0)1732 833 606

+44 (0) 207 927 2701

I hold an MA in Social Anthropology (Class 1) from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD in Politics, also from Edinburgh. I have held academic posts at the University of Edinburgh, Institute of Psychiatry (now part of Kings College London) Birkbeck, University of London, Goldsmiths, University of London and Middlesex University, London. I was at different times Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at Birkbeck and Head of the Department of Politics and Sociology there, Professor of Social Policy at Goldsmiths and Head of their Department of Social Policy and Politics and Professor of Sociology and Social Policy and Director of Research and PostGraduate Studies (Health and Social Science) at Middlesex. I was an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Drug Policy and am a member of the International Editorial Board of the journal Drugs: education, prevention and policy. I chaired the Social Policy and Administration and Social Work panel for the HEFC 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. I have been a Scientific Advisor to the Department of Health. I am Professor Emerita at Middlesex University London. I was a member of an ACMD Working Group on Older Drug Users, the report from which was published in 2019. I am also a member of  the International Advisory Group of the Academy of Social Sciences.


Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Department of Public Health, Environments and Society


At LSHTM, I have taught on courses in Health Promotion and Drugs Alcohol and Tobacco on the Masters in Public Health, supervised various Masters' projects and advised PhD students. Over the years I have taught on several courses in different institutions, including Political Sociology, Social Research Methods and Comparative Social Policy. I have acted as internal examiner for degrees at Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, LSHTM and Middlesex and as external examiner at universities in England and Scotland (eg Edinburgh, Bath, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, LSE, Institute of Psychiatry, Royal Holloway, Loughborough, Bristol, Brighton, Hertfordshire, Westminster, Sheffield Hallam, Kent) as well as overseas (Aarhus Denmark; Melbourne Australia; Griffiths Australia; Ghent Belgium). 


My current project focuses on the phenomenon of 'British Bronchitis' in the north west of England from the 1930s to the 1950s. Methods include using the Worktown Mass Observation archives held at the University of Sussex and digitised at the British Library.  Related to this I wrote a review of The Pub and The People which appeared in the Classics Series of Addiction in August 2020.   Another project investigates drug-related deaths in English prisons from 2003-2022, focusing especially on 2015-2020. This is in collaboration with Karen Duke and other colleagues at DARC, Middlesex University London. Methods include analysis of PPO reports on non-natural deaths. A presentation on this will be given at the Lisbon Addictions Conference in November 2022. A related publication in press is a chapter 'Risk, intoxication and death: contemporary media framing of drug-related deaths' (with Betsy Thom) in a Handbook on Intoxication to be published by Routledge, edited by Geoffrey Hunt et al, 2022. 

I recently published a review for Society published online in July 2022 of Johan Hari's book Chasing the Scream (Bloomsbury 2019 pbk) and co-edited a collection (with Betsy Thom) published by Routledge in 2020 entitled Risk and Substance Use: Framing dangerous people and dangerous places.

My book The Politics of Drugs: perceptions, power and policies was published in September 2017 by Palgrave Macmillan. In preparing some of the work for this, I was supported by The Leverhulme Trust from 2007 to 2010 as an Emeritus Fellow in the Centre for History in Public Health. 

For nearly ten years I was Programme Coordinator for the UK Department of Health (Policy Research Programme) Drugs Misuse Research Initiative. Phase One of this programme (total budget £2.4 million) ran from 2000 to 2005 and included projects on treatment, co-morbidity/dual diagnosis, young people and waiting lists. Phase Two, entitled ROUTES (research on understanding treatment experiences and services) and valued at £1.2 million, began in 2005 and continued to 2009. ROUTES focused on experiences of treatment and service configuration and on children, young people, families and communities. I edited a collection based on this programme of research published by Routledge -  Responding to Drug Misuse: research and policy priorities in health and social care (2010). 

Related to this research in the addictions field, I co-edited, with Betsy Thom of Middlesex University, a six volume collection of Major Works in Drug and Alcohol Studies published by Sage in December 2013. I also contributed a chapter on 'Public health approaches to drugs and alcohol: a critique' in the  Handbook of Drug and Alcohol Studies edited by Kolind,Thom and Hunt Sage 2017. 

Earlier, I completed work on a project funded by the Department of Health (Policy Research Programme) to evaluate their national Alcohol Improvement Programme (with Middlesex University and York University). The final report on this project was submitted to DH in April 2012 co-written with Betsy Thom, Charlie Lloyd, Rachel Herring, Christine Godfrey, Jordan Tchilingirian and Paul Toner. Three articles from this project were published in refereed journals. 

In a different field - comparative social policy - I was a member of an international collaborative project Towards Universal Social Security in Emerging Economies co-ordinated by UNRISD. My working paper on Welfare: theoretical and analytic paradigms is on the UNRISD website. My chapter 'Universalism and Health: the battle of ideas' was published in 2017 in a collection Towards Universal Health Care in Emerging Economies: opportunities and challenges edited by Ilcheong Yi, Palgrave Macmillan.

I chaired the Research and Evaluation Group for the University of Bedfordshire Alexi Project on developing services for children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation which completed its work in summer 2017.

Research Area
Complex interventions
Health policy
Health systems
Public health
Public health history
Research : policy relationship
Social and structural determinants of health
Environmental Health
Mixed methods
Implementation research
Substance use
Policy analysis
Political science
Social Sciences
Social Policy
Disease and Health Conditions
Chronic disease
Mental health
Respiratory disease
European Union

Selected Publications

Risk and Substance Use: framing dangerous people and dangerous places
MacGregor S; Thom B
Drug Policy in the United Kingdom
MacGregor S
European Drug Policies: The Ways of Reform
Politics of Drugs: Perceptions, Power and Policies
MacGregor S
Public Health approaches to substance use: a critique
MacGregor S
The SAGE Handbook of Drug & Alcohol Studies : Social Science Approaches
Evidence-based policy: exploring international and interdisciplinary insights
Hantrais L; Lenihan AT; MacGregor S
Contemporary social science
Proposals for policy development: drugs
MacGregor S
Substance Use and Older People
The emergence and influence of the concept of governance in the European addiction field
MacGregor S; Singleton N; Trautmann F
Reframing addiction: policies, processes and pressures
Towards good governance in drug policy: evidence, stakeholders and politics.
MacGregor S; Singleton N; Trautmann F
The International journal on drug policy
Perceptions on the role of evidence: an English alcohol policy case study
Toner P; Lloyd C; Thom B; MacGregor S; Godfrey C; Herring R; Tchilingirian J
Evidence & Policy
Soft methods, hard targets: regional alcohol managers as a policy network
Lloyd C; Thom B; MacGregor S; Herring R; Godfrey C; Toner P; Tchilingirian J
Journal of Substance Use
Soft methods, hard targets: regional alcohol managers as a policy network
Lloyd C; Thom B; MacGregor S; Herring R; Godfrey C; Toner P; Tchilingirian J
Journal of Substance Use
The alcohol improvement programme: evaluation of an initiative to address alcohol-related health harm in England.
Thom B; MacGregor S; Godfrey C; Herring R; Lloyd C; Tchilingirian J; Toner P
Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire)
Do we need a European drugs strategy?
MacGregor S
Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy
The Impact of Research on Policy in the Drugs Field
MacGregor S
Methodological Innovations Online
Partnerships and communities in English drug policy: the challenge of deprivation.
Macgregor S; Thickett A
The International journal on drug policy
Responding to Drug Misuse: research and policy priorities in health and social care
MacGregor S
The development of European drug policy and the place of harm reduction within this
MacGregor S; Whiting M
Harm Reduction: evidence, impacts and challenges
See more Publications