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Rebecca McDonald is a Research Associate within the Section on Women's Mental Health at the Health Service and Population Research Department, where she manages an NIHR-funded research program on perinatal mental health.    

She previously worked as a consultant for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). She has also supported the World Health Organization (WHO) in the development of international guidelines for the prevention of opioid overdose deaths. 

Rebecca received her Ph.D. in Addiction Sciences from King’s College London in 2017 (in collaboration with the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences) and  was awarded the “Elsevier Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis”. Her academic background is in psychology.  



Research Interests

  • Women’s mental health  
  • Substance use disorders 
  • Global health 
  • Public health 

Research Groups

Section of Women’s Mental Health 

Expertise and Public Engagement

Member of the Naloxone Steering Group for NHS England 


  • Strang, J, McDonald, R*, Campbell, G, Degenhardt, L, Nielsen, S, Ritter, A, & Dale, O (in press).   Take-home naloxone for the emergency interim management of opioid overdose: The public health application of an emergency medicine. Drugs. 
  • Tas, B, Humphreys, K, McDonald, R, & Strang, J (in press). Should we worry that take-home naloxone availability may increase opioid use? Addiction. 
  • Neale, J, Tompkins, CNE, McDonald, R, & Strang, J (2018). Patient views of opioid pharmacotherapy bio-delivery systems: qualitative study to assist treatment decision making. 
  • Strang, J., Neale, J., McDonald, R., & Kalk, N. (2018). Toxicity: exploring and expanding the concept. Addiction, 113(4), 592-594. 
  • Neale, J, Tompkins, CNE, McDonald, R, & Strang, J (2018). Implants and depot injections for treating opioid dependence: Qualitative study of people who use or have used heroin. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 189, 1-7. 
  • Neale, J, Tompkins, CNE, McDonald, R, & Strang, J (2018). Improving recruitment to pharmacological trials for illicit opioid use: Findings from a qualitative focus group study. Addiction, 113(6),, 1066-76,  
  • McDonald, R, Lorch, U, Woodward, J, Bosse, B, Dooner, H, Mundin, G, Smith, K, & Strang, J (2017). Pharmacokinetics of concentrated naloxone nasal spray for opioid overdose reversal: Phase I healthy volunteer study. Addiction, 113(3), 484-93. 
  • McDonald, R, Campbell, ND, & Strang, J (2017). Twenty years of take-home naloxone for the prevention of overdose deaths from heroin and other opioids - conception and maturation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 178, 176-87. 
  • Mundin, G, McDonald, R*, Smith, K, Harris, S, & Strang, J (2017). Pharmacokinetics of concentrated naloxone nasal spray over first 30 minutes post-dosing: analysis of suitability for opioid overdose reversal. Addiction, 112(9), 1647-52. 
  • McDonald, R, Danielsson, ØG, Dale, O, & Strang, J (2017). International patent applications for non-injectable naloxone for opioid overdose reversal: Search and retrieve analysis of the PatentScope database. Drug and Alcohol Review, 37(2), 205-15. 
  • Neale, J, Black, L, Getty, M, Hogan, C, Lennon, P, Lora, C, McDonald, R, Strang, J, Tompkins, C, Usher, J, Villa, G, & Wylie, A (2017). Paying participants in addiction research: is cash king? Journal of Substance Use, 1-3. 
  • Tas, B, & McDonald, R* (2016). Commentary on Darke & Duflou (2016): Heroin‐related deaths—identifying a window for intervention. Addiction,111(9), 1614-1615.  
  • Strang, J & McDonald, R (2016). Letters to Addiction from Coffin et al. and Doe‐Simpkins et al. re: ‘For Debate’ on clinical use of improvised nasal naloxone sprays: authors’ response. Addiction, 111(10), 1881-1883. 
  • McDonald, R, & Strang, J (2016). Are take-home naloxone programs effective? A systematic review utilizing application of the Bradford Hill criteria. Addiction, 111(7), 1177-1187.  
  • Strang, J, McDonald, R*, Alqurshi, A, Royall, P, Taylor, D, & Forbes, B (2016). Naloxone without the needle − systematic review of candidate routes for non-injectable naloxone for opioid overdose reversal. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 163, 16-23. 
  • Alqurshi, A, Kumar, Z, McDonald, R, Strang, J, Buanz, A, Ahmed, S, Allen, E, Cameron, P, Rickard, JA, Sandhu, V, Stansfield, R, Taylor, D, Forbes, B, & Royall, PG (2016). Amorphous formulation and in vitro performance testing of instantly disintegrating buccal tablets for the emergency delivery of naloxone. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 13(5), 1688-1698. 
  • Strang, J & McDonald, R (2016). New approved nasal naloxone welcome, but unlicensed improvised naloxone spray kits remain a concern: proper scientific study must accompany innovation. Addiction, 111(4), 590-2. 
  • Strang, J, McDonald, R*, Tas, B, & Day, E (2016). For debate: Clinical provision of nasal naloxone without experimental testing and without regulatory approval – imaginative shortcut or dangerous bypass of essential safety procedures? Addiction, 111(4), 574-582. 
  • Winston, I, McDonald, R*, Tas, B, & Strang, J (2015). Heroin overdose resuscitation with naloxone: patient uses own prescribed supply to save the life of a peer. BMJ Case Reports; DOI:10.1136/bcr-2015-210391 
  • Marteau, D, McDonald, R, & Patel, K (2015). The relative risk of fatal poisoning by methadone or buprenorphine within the wider population of England and Wales. BMJ Open, 5(5), e007629. 
  • Hall, G, Neighbors, CJ, Iheoma, J, Dauber, S, Adams, MB, Culleton, R, Muench, F, Borys, S, McDonald, R, & Morgenstern, J (2014). Mobile opioid agonist treatment and public funding expands treatment for disenfranchised opioid-dependent individuals. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 46(4), 511-15.