Research & other projects

The social life of opioids in backcountry California

In the field, 2019.

My first book project is based on in-depth interviews and over two years of participant observation fieldwork with people who use drugs and local officials and service providers in several nonurban counties. In the first half of the book I reveal the hidden world of small-town drug scenes and track their members’ experiences of health and criminalization. In the second half I incorporate the views of practitioners, showing how their personal ties with other officials and their clients helped and hindered their work. Some of my findings have been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy (2020).

Other research

Prevention Point exchanging syringes in San Francisco, 1990. (Photo: Phil Head, Bay Area Reporter)

Topics of my sole-authored publications include: federal harm reduction policy and politics in the United States (International Journal of Drug Policy 2018); the history of harm reduction services in California (Mobilization 2020); and medicalization theory and the treatment of psychopathy (Theory and Society 2019). I have collaborated on a NIH-funded implementation study of overdose prevention services for people exiting jail and prison (PI: Alex H. Kral; Social Science & Medicine 2021, Journal of Correctional Health Care 2019), and an implementation study of “hub and spoke” systems for opioid treatment (PI: Claire Snell-Rood; Substance Abuse 2020).

Harm reduction

I have provided harm reduction services, such as syringe access and naloxone distribution, in Chicago (2009–2013) and California (2013–present). As President of the Board of Directors for NEED, I help coordinate all aspects of the organization’s budget, staffing, and services. I also offer training and consultation on harm reduction best practices and program implementation for local governments and organizations.

Offering harm reduction supplies at a festival, 2018.
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