Substance Abuse

drugs and alcohol

Research in substance use research addresses the prevalence, determinants and prevention of alcohol and tobacco use and related problems. Our faculty conduct epidemiologic research on the causes, consequences and interventions for substance use.

The focus is on the environmental factors that contribute to the development and prevention of substance related problems, in particular the effect of institutional and public policies that affect where and how alcohol and tobacco is sold and consumed, and evaluate the effects of community organizing, law enforcement, coalitions and other efforts reduce substance related health and social problems.

Community intervention to reduce tobacco use among pregnant Alaska native women
Harry Lando

In the southwest region of Alaska, 79% of Alaska native women smoke cigarettes or use smokeless tobacco during pregnancy. We propose to evaluate an intervention incorporating both individual and community level components to reduce tobacco use during pregnancy. Female elders “Native Sisters” will deliver the intervention. The intervention builds on effective tobacco control strategies and lay health advisor approaches for cancer prevention among native American women. Developing effective interventions among Alaska native women will ultimately reduce the risk of tobacco-related maternal, fetal and infant adverse health outcomes.


Personalized smoking cessation tool based on patient lung CT image
Harry Lando and Lauren Keith (Imbio, LLC)

The goals of this project are to:

  • Create markers for health outcomes to refine the Imbio Smoking Cessation Report designed in Phase I of the project;
  • Establish a telephone smoking cessation protocol incorporating the report; and
  • Clinically validate the impact of the report on smokers enrolled in a lung cancer screening program.

The resulting report will be the only smoking cessation product in the market providing truly personalized information and comparative detail.


Region V public health training center program
Rhonda Jones-Webb

This grant provides lifelong learning opportunities for the current and future public health workforce in the areas of culturally responsive practice.


Assessing how local-level law enforcement strategies, both specific and in aggregate, influence binge drinking and alcohol-impaired driving in communities across the U.S.
Traci Toomey

Drunk driving is still a significant public health problem. More research is needed to help law enforcement agencies select and use strategies that are effective in preventing and reducing drunk driving. In this study, we evaluate how different types of law enforcement strategies are related to heavy alcohol use and drunk driving in communities across the US.


Mediators and moderators of a neighborhood experiment on alcohol use
Theresa Osypuk, Toben Nelson

This project applies novel methods for mediation and effect modification to understand how a housing voucher experiment influenced the neighborhood and housing environments of low income families and subsequently affected alcohol use, excessive drinking and alcohol dependence of adolescents and their mothers.

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