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Substance Abuse


The nature and challenge of alcohol and drug use in the United States continues to change rapidly, evolving in reaction to myriad social, economic, and local forces. While the use of illicit drugs affects every region of the country, most of our current information about drug use comes from large urban areas.

While the use of illicit drugs affects every region of the country, most of our current information about drug use comes from large urban areas. Data on rural drug use and its harms justify greater attention. Record overdose rates, unexpected outbreaks of HIV, and a dearth of treatment facilities point to a rapidly worsening health situation. While health sciences have made considerable progress in understanding the etiology of drug use and uncovering the link between drug use and its myriad associated harms, this promising scientific news has not always translated to better health outcomes. Similarly, alcohol use and abuse has been part of American history since its founding, and continues to affect individuals and households in rural as well as urban areas. Our approach involves seeing these issue in the widest possible lens, as individual and single community issues reflect larger national and global processes.

Recent Blog Posts for Injection Risk Networks in Rural Puerto Rico

In collaboration with El Punto en la Montaña, our syringe exchange partners in rural Puerto Rico, our team participated in

Duncan I., Curtis R., Reyes J.C., Abadie R., Khan B., Dombrowski, K. 2017. Hepatitis C serosorting among people who inject

Abadie, R., Welch-Lazoritz, M., Dombrowski, K., Khan, B. 2017. “Social Determinants of HIV/HCV Co-Infection: A case Study from PWID in

2016 Kirk Dombrowski, Bilal Khan, Patrick Habecker, Holly Hagan, Samuel R. Friedman, Mohammed Saad “The Interaction of Human Social Systems

2017 Melissa Welch-Lazoritz, Patrick Habecker, Kirk Dombrowski, Angelica Rivera Villegas, Carmen Ana Davila, Yadira Rolón Colón, Sandra Miranda De León,

A new article was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer that focuses on one of Puerto Rico's solutions to the heroin

Funded Projects:

Funding for research in this are includes “Using Respondent Driven Sampling to Reach High Risk, Hard to Reach Populations for HIV Testing and Link to Care”  (PI R Baker, Brooklyn AIDS Task Force) funded by the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation;  “Injection Drug User Network Topologies and HIV Stabilization Dynamics” NIDA RC1 DA028476-01; “Preventing HIV Transmission by Recently-Infected Drug Users” (PI Samuel Friedman, NDRI) NIDA Avant Garde Program DP1 DA034989; “Developing Effective Proximal Care to Prevent Rural Alaska Native Youth Suicide” (PI Lisa Wexler, U Mass Amherst) NIMH R34 MH096884; “Injection Risk Networks in Rural Puerto Rico” NIDA R01 DA037117; and “Qungasvik (Toolbox): Prevention of Alcohol/Suicide Risk in Alaska Native Youth” (PI Stacy Rasmus UAF) NIAAA R01 AA023754.