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Stephen Lankenau, PhD

Stephen Lankenau

Professor and Director of the Medical Cannabis Research Center
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 mixed 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 and is leading a patient registry study of medical cannabis patients in Pennsylvania to determine the impact of medical cannabis on qualifying medical conditions, e.g., chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety.

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 (

Lastly, he is co-leading a three-year study to develop a mobile phone application to deliver naloxone to overdose events in real-time in Philadelphia (

He teaches graduate courses on proposal design, qualitative methods, and substance use.

Research Interests

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


Roth A.M., Mitchell A.K., Mukherjee R., Scheim, A.I., Ward, K.M., & Lankenau, S.E. (in press). Prevalence and correlates of syringe disposal box use in a Philadelphia neighborhood with high levels of public drug injection Substance Use & Misuse.

Schwartz, D.G., Ataiants, J., Roth, A.M., Marcu, G., Yahav, I., Cocchiaro, B., Khalemsky, M.,& Lankenau, S.E. (in press). Layperson reversal of opioid overdose supported by smartphone alert: A prospective observational cohort study. E Clinical Medicine.

Ataiants, J., Mazzella, S., Roth, A.M., Robinson, L.F., Sell, R.L., & Lankenau, S.E. (in press). Overdose response among trained and untrained women with a history of illicit drug use: A mixed methods examination. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy.

Ataiants, J., Mazzella, S., Roth, A.M., Robinson, L.F., Sell, R.L., & Lankenau, S.E. (in press). Multiple Victimizations and Overdose Among Women With a History of Illicit Drug Use. J Interpers Violence.