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Stephen Lankenau, PhD

Stephen Lankenau


Phone: 267.359.6057
College: School of Public Health
Program: Community Health and Prevention
CV: Download CV


BA, Sociology, University of Vermont; MA, PhD, Sociology, University of Maryland


Dr. Stephen E. Lankenau is a sociologist who combines public health concerns and ethnographic methods to the study of high-risk youth, out- of-treatment drug users, homelessness, and HIV/AIDS. Currently, he is studying prescription drug misuse among young people in Los Angeles and New York to describe patterns of initiation, risk and protective behaviors, and other unanticipated health consequences. He is also leading evaluation studies of overdose prevention programs in Los Angeles and Philadelphia to determine programs that effectively reduce the risks of fatal drug overdoses.  Two of these studies are funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). He teaches graduate courses that apply qualitative methods to the study of public health issues. Dr. Lankenau received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and a postdoctoral fellowship funded by NIDA. He has held faculty appointments at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

Research Interests

  • Overdose prevention
  • Prescription drug misuse
  • Medical marijuana
  • Injection drug use
  • High risk youth
  • Homeless
  • Qualitative research


Silva, K., Schrager, S., Kecojevic, A., & Lankenau, S. (forthcoming). Risk factors of non-fatal overdose among young nonmedical users of prescription drugs. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Wagner, K., Iverson, E., Wong, C., Jackson Bloom, J., McNeely, M., Davidson, P., McCarty, C., & Lankenau, S. (forthcoming). Personal social network factors associated with overdose prevention training participation: Herd immunity or social influence? Substance Use and Misuse.

Lankenau, S., Wagner, K., Silva, K., Kecojevic, A., Iverson, E., McNeely, M., & Kral, A. (2012). Injection drug users trained by overdose prevention programs: Responses to witnessed overdoses. Journal of Community Health, July 31 [epub].

Lankenau, S., Teti, M., Silva, K., Jackson Bloom, J., Harocopos, A., & Tresse, M. (2012). Patterns of prescription drug misuse among young injection drug users. Journal of Urban Health, June 9 [epub].

Kecojevic, A., Wong, C., Schrager, S., Silva, K., Jackson Bloom, J., Iverson, E. & Lankenau, S. (2012). Initiation into prescription drug misuse: Differences between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and heterosexual high-risk young adults in Los Angeles and New York. Addictive Behaviors, 37:1289-93.

Fibbi, M., Silva, K., Johnson, K., Langer, D., & Lankenau, S. (2012). Denial of prescription opioids among young adults with histories of opioid misuse. Pain Medicine, 13:1040-1048.

Lankenau, S., Schrager, S., Silva, K., Kecojevic, A., Jackson Bloom, J., Wong, C., & Iverson, E. (2012). Prescription and illicit drug use among high-risk young adults in Los Angeles and New York. Journal of Public Health Research, 1:1-9.

Lankenau, S., Teti, M., Silva, K., Jackson Bloom, J., Harocopos, A., & Tresse, M. (2012) Initiation into prescription opioid misuse among young injection drug users. International Journal of Drug Policy, 23: 37-44.