Susan McDonald’s Story

Author: Susan McDonald
Susan McDonald’s Story

Susan McDonald’s Fellowship in 2013 took her to the USA and Canada to research programmes aimed at reducing the consumption of alcohol by children and young people.

The Fellowship

Susan, a police officer within the alcohol licensing section of Police Scotland, wanted to seek ways to address the use of alcohol by children and young people, by encouraging and challenging a change of attitude by parents and guardians who tolerate or consent to adolescents drinking.

She met with staff from various agencies including police services, local authorities, public health departments and universities to learn what practices had made a change in this area locally. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center is the leading authority on the subject in the USA and further afield.  Their research findings are central to many successful projects, including the campaign “Talk. They Hear You”, which engages parents and caregivers in the prevention of underage drinking. It is one of the key projects Susan has taken forward to promote a similar countrywide campaign.

The Results

Since travelling Susan has written a number of papers to promote ideas and take information forward. In particular, West Lothian College Events and Media Studies Programmes are keen to lead an initiative to promote ‘Dry School Proms’, endorsing that celebrations can take place without the need for alcohol and at the same time educate young people on the dangers of drinking. Further work is ongoing including plans to take ideas in-house with Police Service of Scotland, Scottish Prison Service and Scottish Executive.