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.
When public policy embraced harm reduction, Tam worked with his peers to defend the local mobile needle exchange from vigilante attacks. This led to the formation of Chemical Reaction in 1993, a grassroots drug user group that has been involved in training the police, advocating with drug services, undertaking peer education and most recently developing a peer response to the first Anthrax outbreak in 2007.
Tam worked as a Drugs Outreach Worker for the Castle Project from 1995 to 2002 and was involved in taking harm reduction services out to the housing schemes of Edinburgh. He has strong practical experience of engaging active drug scenes in order to promote the health and rights of people who inject drugs.
Tam also helped other drug users across Scotland form their own groups and has been involved in leading drug user networking both in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Tam was the 2011 winner of the Carol and Travis Jenkins Award, which is presented each year to a current or former drug user who has made an outstanding contribution to reducing drug related harm.