Alexey was born in Moscow in 1981 and grew up in the city of Kazan. He graduated from a technical high school as a financial accountant but he did not go onto work in this profession. Alexey started using drugs at the age of 14 and draws on his personal history of drugs in working as a technical advisor.
Coact consultants are a highly experienced and flexible team with a wide range of technical backgrounds and experience. Collectively we cover a variety of different drugs, routes of administration, interactions with blood-borne viruses, and pathways to change. Individually, our consultants have their own areas of special interest and expertise.
Currently based in Canada, Bill was one of the earliest advocates of a harm reduction approach towards people who use drugs. From 1985 until 1988 he was Drug Education Officer at the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) in London, England. In 1988 Bill moved to West Berkshire Health Authority, where he created and delivered one of the first training courses for doctors on AIDS and methadone prescribing.
Based in Northern Ireland, Buff’s full-time job is as Co-ordinator of the Drugs Accommodation Support Project with Extern in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Buff works with people who inject heroin and who are homeless, helping them gain access to hostel accommodation and other services.
From New Zealand (living in the UK), Magdalena is a lecturer and researcher at the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She specialises in the lived experience of hepatitis C and treatment access. Magdalena has a PhD from National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales and an MA and BA Hons from University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Judy Chang is Chinese-Australian, and currently living in Italy. She has worked for five years in community health and development across India, Thailand and China. Previously, she worked on project design and coordination, and community mobilization, with a specific focus on youth, sexual reproductive health, and people living with HIV.
Based in US, Luciano has been working in the field of public health and public policy for more than 20 years. He specializes in the development and implementation of interventions for people who use drugs, and the provision of technical assistance and training to governmental and non-governmental organizations seeking to establish and strengthen their activities for marginalized populations. His most recent focus has been on the design and implementation of harm reduction programs targeting people who use methamphetamine in Asia, Eastern Europe and North America.
Based in England, Mat has worked in the drugs and HIV fields as a practitioner, manager and activist for 25 years. Mat was an early harm reduction worker in the UK and in 1991 founded the pioneering Healthy Options Team (HOT), a harm reduction agency that employed peer workers and used community mobilisation strategies with people who use drugs (PWUD).
Please note: Mick is currently on sabbatical from his work with Co-Act.
From the UK (living in France), Mick is a consultant and facilitator with 30 years’ experience at all levels in HIV, drug use and developing civil society networks. In 1988, he helped set up and then managed the Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) prescribing service and Needle and Syringe Programme (NSP) in Luton. From 1991 – 1997 he developed and was Executive Director of the UK’s National Network of HIV/AIDS Self Help Groups, including organising three national People Living With Aids (PLWA) Conferences, the EuroCASA AGM and the UK’s first Long Term HIV Survivors Conference.
Based in Ukraine, Olga is a trainer, clinical psychologist, and an expert in creating harm reduction programmes for women who use drugs, and in community mobilisation and advocacy. She has worked in the fields of harm reduction and community mobilisation for 10 years.
Pascal Tanguay is a Canadian based in Thailand since 2004. Pascal has worked and provided leadership in the field of harm reduction for the past 10 years, particularly in Asia and in Thailand where he worked first as Communications Manager for the Asian Harm Reduction Network (AHRN), as Program Director and Deputy Country Representative for Population Services International (PSI), as well as an independent consultant for UN and donor agencies, INGOs and local CSOs.
Paul is an expert in methamphetamine, committed to keeping abreast of developments in the field through his relationships with pharmacologists, toxicologists, researchers and people who use drugs that have been formed around the world over the last 20 years.
Based in Brisbane, Australia. Ruth Birgin has worked as a harm reduction specialist for over twenty years throughout Australia, Asia and, more recently, Eastern Africa. She has a working knowledge of the relevant UN organisations and INGOs involved in HIV/AIDS and harm reduction activity, as well as the issues faced by injecting drug users at community level in different parts of Asia and Eastern Africa. She is proficient in Bahasa Indonesia.
Based in Scotland, Tam is a drug user activist and drugs outreach worker from Edinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh was known as the AIDS capital of Europe in the mid 1980s and Tam was living in the midst of this epidemic. He responded by running an illegal needle exchange from his home for his peers in 1989.
Umesh was one of the founding members of the Social Awareness Service Organisation (SASO) in Manipur in 1990. In 1993, SASO - supported by Oxfam GB - started the first comprehensive harm reduction service for people who use drugs that was highly influential for the subsequent government roll-out of needle syringe exchange programmes in Manipur (1997-98). Before leaving India, Umesh managed the first Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) programme in Manipur with support from the European Commission through SHARAN.