Dr Ian Walmsley

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About me

I am a criminologist with an interest in illegal drug use, drugs policy and treatment and recovery. My interest in this area comes from previous professional experience of working with people with drug problems in drug treatment and criminal justice settings. I completed my first degree and PhD in Sociology at the University of the West of England. 

My earlier work focused on the emergence of the addicted body during the nineteenth century, particularly its relationship to wider concerns about poisons and accidental and intentional poisoning. Here I located a new way of thinking about the addicted body as a poisoned object, which prompted new ways of responding to the addicted body as a poisoned body. This resulted in practices of detoxification and maintenance prescribing.  

I have also undertaken commissioned evaluation research for the police. This work has primarily focused on the use of out of court disposals for low-level offences and assaults on emergency workers. I have also evaluated initiatives designed to improve relations between police and young people. 

My research is currently concerned with understanding the experiences of disclosing a history of problematic drug use and associated experiences in areas of life regarded as important to recovery. This project is funded by the British Academy.

Area of expertise

History of drug policy and practice

Sociology of drugs and the addicted body

Regulation of problem drug users

Drug treatment and recovery

Police evaluation research


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