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Stephen Lankenau, PhD

Stephen Lankenau

Professor and Associate Dean for Research
Community Health and Prevention
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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 substance use and health outcomes associated with use, including homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and overdose as well as healing and recovery.

He is director of Drexel's Medical Cannabis Research Center. Currently, he is leading a five-year renewal study of medical and personal use of cannabis among young adults in Los Angeles to describe patterns of use and health behaviors. In total, the study period will extend from 2013 to 2023 (

Also, he is leading a three-year study to develop a mobile phone application to deliver naloxone to overdose events in real-time in Philadelphia ( Both studies are funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

He teaches graduate courses that apply qualitative methods to the study of public health issues.

Research Interests

  • Mental Health and Behavioral health
  • Substance Use
  • Urban Health


Fedorova, E., Schrager, S., Robinson, L., Cepeda, A., Wong, C., Iverson, E. & Lankenau, S. (in press) Illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse among young adult medical cannabis patients and non-patient users in Los Angeles. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Reed, M., Kioumarsi, A., Fedorova, K., Ataiants, J., Wong, C.F., Iverson, E., & Lankenau, S. (in press). Marijuana sources in a medical marijuana environment: dynamics in access and use among a cohort of young adults in Los Angeles, California. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy.

Bowles, J., Lankenau, S. (2019). “I gotta go with modern technology, so I’m gonna give ’em the Narcan”: The diffusion of innovations and an opioid overdose prevention program. Qualitative Health Research, 29(3): 345-356.

Lankenau, S., Kioumarsi, A., Reed, M., Wong, C.F., & Iverson, E. (2018). Becoming a medical marijuana user. International Journal of Drug Policy, 52: 62-70.

Lankenau, S., Ataiants, J., Mohanty, S., Schrager, S., Iverson, E., Wong, C.F. (2018). Health conditions and motivations for marijuana use among young adult medical marijuana patients and non-patient marijuana users. Drug and Alcohol Review, 37: 237-246.

Kecojevic, A., Basch, C.H., & Lankenau, S. (2018). Early initiation of substance use as an indicator of problematic substance use among young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Substance Use and Misuse, 53:51-58.