Dan Werb




Dan Werb, PhD, is an epidemiologist and policy analyst with expertise in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), addictions, and drug policy. Dr. Werb is a Research Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute (LKSKI) at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Division of Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, where he is Principal Investigator of PRIMER: Preventing Injecting by Modifying Existing Responses, a five-year multi-site cohort study tasked with developing interventions to preventing entry into injection drug use. This study is funded through the inaugural United States National Institute on Drug Abuse Avenir Award, a USD$1.5 million research grant for creative new investigators proposing highly innovative research at the intersection of HIV and substance use. At the LKSKI, Dr. Werb is Director and Scientific Board Chair of the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, a recognized global leader in cutting edge policy research and communications. Dr. Werb has published dozens of studies on issues related to health policy and addictions, with a focus on preventing the transition of street youth into injection drug use, as well as on identifying the impact of policy and public health interventions on street-based drug-using populations. At the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, Dr. Werb is a sought after source of expertise on drug policy, and has appeared in media related to his work in every global hemisphere. He has helped oversee communications campaigns around such high profile projects as the Vienna Declaration. He has also published extensively on global drug policy and HIV policy. Dr. Werb is a former Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research postdoctoral fellow. He conducts extensive knowledge translation on drug policy and public health, through print and radio journalism, and is the winner of a 2014 Canadian National Magazine Award for his popular science writing.

Please note: Dr. Werb is not taking any summer students.

Recent Publications

  1. Ti, L, Tobias, S, Maghsoudi, N, Milloy, MJ, McDonald, K, Shapiro, A et al.. Detection of synthetic cannabinoid adulteration in the unregulated drug supply in three Canadian settings. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2020; :. doi: 10.1111/dar.13237. PubMed PMID:33354869 .
  2. Sa, M, C, R, Ml, M, Lr, S, J, TM, S, J et al.. Examining the gender composition of drug injecting initiation events: A mixed methods investigation of three North American contexts. Int J Drug Policy. 2020;90 :103056. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.103056. PubMed PMID:33310638 .
  3. Scheim, AI, Bouck, Z, Tookey, P, Hopkins, S, Sniderman, R, McLean, E et al.. Supervised consumption service use and recent non-fatal overdose among people who inject drugs in Toronto, Canada. Int J Drug Policy. 2020;87 :102993. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102993. PubMed PMID:33160158 .
  4. Bernstein, SE, Amirkhani, E, Werb, D, MacPherson, D. The regulation project: Tools for engaging the public in the legal regulation of drugs. Int J Drug Policy. 2020;86 :102949. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102949. PubMed PMID:33049592 PubMed Central PMC7547323.
  5. Meyers, SA, Rafful, C, Jain, S, Sun, X, Skaathun, B, Guise, A et al.. The role of drug treatment and recovery services: an opportunity to address injection initiation assistance in Tijuana, Mexico. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2020;15 (1):78. doi: 10.1186/s13011-020-00322-1. PubMed PMID:33046125 PubMed Central PMC7552370.
  6. Gicquelais, RE, Werb, D, Marks, C, Ziegler, C, Mehta, SH, Genberg, BL et al.. Prevalence and Correlates of Providing and Receiving Assistance With the Transition to Injection Drug Use. Epidemiol Rev. 2020;42 (1):4-18. doi: 10.1093/epirev/mxaa008. PubMed PMID:33024995 .
  7. Scheim, AI, Maghsoudi, N, Marshall, Z, Churchill, S, Ziegler, C, Werb, D et al.. Impact evaluations of drug decriminalisation and legal regulation on drug use, health and social harms: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 2020;10 (9):e035148. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035148. PubMed PMID:32958480 PubMed Central PMC7507857.
  8. Bloom, BE, Jain, S, Sun, X, Garfein, RS, Strathdee, SA, Milloy, MJ et al.. Self-perception of assisting with future injection drug initiation: The influence of relationships in the process of drug injecting initiation. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2021;40 (1):109-117. doi: 10.1111/dar.13145. PubMed PMID:32840027 .
  9. Meyers, SA, Smith, LR, Werb, D. Preventing transitions into injection drug use: A call for gender-responsive upstream prevention. Int J Drug Policy. 2020;83 :102836. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102836. PubMed PMID:32679459 PubMed Central PMC7793169.
  10. Bouck, Z, Jain, S, Sun, X, Milloy, MJ, Werb, D, Hayashi, K et al.. Recent incarceration and risk of first-time injection initiation assistance: A prospective cohort study of persons who inject drugs. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020;212 :107983. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.107983. PubMed PMID:32380374 PubMed Central PMC7293943.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Assistant Professor, Division of Global Public Health, University of California San Diego Director, International Centre for Science in Drug Policy