Mr. David Macdonald | Social Sciences | Best Researcher Award

International Drugs and Development Advisor | United Kingdom

Author Profile


Early Academic Pursuits

David Macdonald's academic journey is marked by a diverse engagement with various academic, governmental, and non-governmental organizations. His foray began with extensive work in research, rapid situational assessments, project management, and evaluation. He honed skills in institutional strengthening, capacity building, strategy development, and specialized in harm reduction, HIV/AIDS prevention, and international development.

Professional Endeavors

Over two decades, Macdonald garnered overseas experience in development, criminal justice, and drug-related issues across diverse regions including Africa, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South/Southeast Asia. His work spanned engagement with marginalized social groups—maximum security prisoners, refugees, indigenous peoples, sex workers, and people who inject drugs (PWID).

Contributions and Research Focus

His expertise encompasses applying 'best practice' in project design and implementation, including project cycle management, monitoring and evaluation, gender analysis, and stakeholder engagement across various countries and institutional settings. Macdonald reviewed and appraised drug prevention, treatment, and aftercare programs, providing advisory services and technical support for harm reduction programs, particularly targeting PWID and HIV/AIDS prevention in Central Asia.

Accolades and Recognition

Macdonald boasts a rich portfolio of research, evaluation, and assessment skills, from questionnaire design to ethnographic research techniques and conducting focus group discussions and interviews. He's undertaken rapid situational assessments and action research on drug use/HIV/AIDS across multiple communities worldwide, including Afghanistan, Botswana, Comoros, Liberia, Maldives, Pakistan, Thailand, and Uganda.

Impact and Influence

Notably, Macdonald spent five years managing the UNODC's Demand Reduction Afghanistan program, overseeing significant budgets and national staff. He's facilitated and assessed training modules and workshops on drug demand reduction, harm reduction, criminal justice, and HIV/AIDS prevention, impacting healthcare, social work, criminal justice, and NGO sectors.

Legacy and Future Contributions

His extensive publication portfolio, encompassing books, journal articles, research, and consultancy reports on drug use, harm reduction, HIV/AIDS, crime, and corruption, underscores his contributions. Macdonald's presentations at international meetings, conferences, seminars, and workshops worldwide further attest to his influence and commitment to addressing critical issues in drug-related challenges, public health, and social justice. His legacy lies in the comprehensive impact on policy, practice, and community interventions aimed at mitigating the impacts of drug abuse and related issues globally.

Notable Publications

Blooming flowers and false prophets: the dynamics of opium cultivation and production in Afghanistan under the Taliban 2005 (8)

Six rapid assessments of alcohol and other substance use in populations displaced by conflict 2011 (126)

Opiate use, treatment, and harm reduction in Afghanistan: Recent changes and future directions 2012 (25)



David Macdonald | Social Sciences | Best Researcher Award

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