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Substance Use

The use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs has long been associated with a range of public health problems, including cancer, chronic lung and liver disease, sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections and mental health. Our school's researchers are studying emerging trends associated with vaping, legalized recreational marijuana, and the U.S. opioid crisis, which now claims about 50,000 lives annually.

The availability of illicitly produced synthetic opioids has increased dramatically since 2013, worsening the public health crisis. In response to this crisis, research at the Yale School of Public Health includes epidemiological and geospatial analyses of opioid-involved fatalities in Connecticut and elsewhere in the United States that include assessing the potential public health benefits of expanded access to naloxone. Additionally, research is being conducted assessing the role of expedited referral to medication-based treatment through harm-reduction organizations and emergency departments in treating the underlying opioid-use disorder.

Other YSPH research includes:

  • Factors that may contribute to risk of non-fatal opioid overdoses
  • The role of mental health, stigma and discrimination in substance use
  • How to integrate behavioral health care for substance use problems into primary care
  • Strategies for limiting the harms of substance use, and more foundational studies of the causes or impacts of inadequately treated substance use or mental illness
  • Using behavioral health economics to develop programs to promote risk-reduction behaviors
  • Potential eHealth applications as effective tools for treating tobacco- and substance-use disorders
  • The economics of substance abuse including lost productivity, cost-effectiveness of treatments, social costs and policy, and drivers behind key disparities
  • The role of substance use in co-morbidities such as cancer and HIV
  • Tobacco and e-cigarette control
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on prevention for, treatment of, and individual and community harms associated with substance use disorders

Recent Publications