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I trained in medicine at Glasgow University, and undertook psychiatry training in Glasgow and the Maudsley Hospital. I was appointed in 2007 as Professor of Addiction Psychiatry and Consultant Psychiatrist at the National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Before that I was Professor and Head of the academic Section of Addictive Behaviour at St George’s, University of London where I worked from 1993 to 2007. Previously I was Lecturer and later Senior Lecturer in Addiction Behaviour at the Medical Research Council Addiction Research Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry from 1987 to 1993. My MD was on the subject of alcohol and public health which included the development and validation of the Alcohol Problems Questionnaire.

I am principal investigator on several research grants from the Department of Health, the Medical Research Council, the National Institute of Health Research and the European Commission, including the DH funded national alcohol needs assessment project and a national research programme on alcohol screening and brief intervention, also funded by DH. In 2017 I was awarded an NIHR Senior Investigator award.

Editorial appointments include the journals Addiction and the British Journal of Psychiatry. Published papers and books on a wide range of topics including epidemiology, clinical trials, drug and alcohol policy, and theories of craving.

I provided advice to government on alcohol and drug misuse strategy. I was a member of the Models of Care working group which produced national frameworks for drug and alcohol services in England.

I am the past chair of the Faculty of Addictions of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and previously served as the Academic Secretary, and I am chair of the Medical Council on Alcohol. I am a member of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence and Alcohol Problems, and Chair of the NICE guideline development group on management of harmful alcohol use and alcohol dependence.