McBride graduated from Andrews University in 1969 with a BA in behavioral sciences. He received a master’s degree in sociology (industrial organizations) from the University of Maryland in 1970, and a PhD in sociology (deviant behavior) from the University of Kentucky. McBride joined the faculty at Andrews University 32 years ago (in 1986), and is currently a professor of sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and director of the Institute for the Prevention of Addictions.
I have been doing extensive research projects for the past 46 years, since 1972. One of the areas I research is substance abuse, specifically drug policy research, AIDS prevention research and substance abuse prevention research. As part of my drug policy research I have had the opportunity to find ways to divert non-violent drug users to treatment rather than incarceration. My studies have shown that those offenders who are diverted to treatment have lower reoffense rates and do not increase community risks. I have also conducted research on the most effective drug laws and state policies to reduce substance use and its consequences, specifically regarding effective treatment programs and state policies to facilitate the existence of those programs. In this area, I have worked with the U.S. government as well as the governments of Ireland and Fiji and many states. In fact, I was chair of the Berrien County Health Department when our county passed an ordinance to ban smoking in any enclosed space (workplace, offices and restaurants). In regards to AIDS prevention research, I have been involved with HIV risk reduction projects around the world, focusing on everything from behavioral change to increasing drug treatment availability and needle cleaning. In this work, we were able to identify the vector of HIV transmission for injection drug users and develop policies that reduced new infection rates. I have also been involved in substance abuse prevention projects. We have focused on the risks and protective factors to help determine what types of programs and interventions reduce risk and increase prevention factors.
While most of my research has focused on substance abuse, I have conducted market evaluations for hospitals, substance abuse treatment programs, and Adventist programs and services including the Hope Channel and Adventist World Radio. I am also currently the principal investigator on a global Adventist Church member survey project analyzing over 60,000 surveys from church members all around the world. The data includes attitudes toward church practices and doctrines as well as religious activities and health behavior. We are currently analyzing the data for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
I probably got involved with substance abuse research because so many of my ancestors and relatives had serious substance abuse problems that shortened their lives by decades. My father joined the church based on its beliefs, but my mother did because of the health message. She wanted to break the cycle of alcohol and tobacco use that had plagued her family. So far, it has worked. In 1969, I was offered an NIMH traineeship to get a PhD in substance abuse and I chose to accept it. I have had a primary focus in this area ever since.
The biggest thing is that I have seen the very positive impact of the Adventist health message. Jesus said that he came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Our health message does this. It enhances our lives and the lives of others who see our example. In this way, we impact the general society.
The most immediate impact of my work has been what I have listed above. Research that helps to find effective HIV prevention projects, create clean indoor air in Michigan, expand treatment opportunities for non-violent drug users, improve state drug laws and policies, and increase our understanding of Adventist member beliefs and practices, are all ways that we help spread the Adventist health message and thereby reach a larger community.