Silvia Martins

Silvia Martins

Silvia Martins

substance use epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology, survey data, problem gambling, medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, prescription opioids, heroin, opioid policies
Director, Substance Use Epidemiology Unit


722 West 168th Street 5th Floor Room 509
New York NY United States 10032


Dr. Silvia S. Martins is the Director of the Substance Use Epidemiology Unit of the Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and of the Policy and Health Initiatives on Opioids and other Substances interdisciplinary group (PHIOS). She is also the co-director of the NIDA T32 Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program in the department and the Course Director of Principles of Epidemiology (P6400). She has co-authored >220 peer-reviewed epidemiological and substance use articles (>100 first or senior-authored), 80 of them led by her current or former mentees. She has served as PI or MPI of multiple NIH funded grants. Some of her notable research findings have focused on a typology of prescription drug monitoring programs and its impact on prescription opioid and heroin overdoses, machine learning techniques to better understand opioid policies associated with high-opioid prescribing, the effects of recreational cannabis laws in cannabis use outcomes in adolescents and adults in the US, and substance use and psychiatric disorders in child and adolescents in Brazil. She has received several awards for her research and mentoring, including, the 2017 Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring and in 2021 the Columbia University Irving Medical Center Mentor of the Year Award. More recently, in 2021, she was selected as one of the School's 2021-2023 Tow Leadership Scholars and she received one of the 2021 Calderone Health Equity awards. Her current research focuses on consequences of medical and recreational marijuana laws in the U.S, recreational marijuana laws in Uruguay, prescription drug monitoring programs, the synergistic effects of opioid policies and marijuana policies on opioid-related harm outcomes and drug overdoses in Latin America. She has been continuously funded by NIH since 2006 as a Principal Investigator.



PhD, 2003, University of Sao Paulo-USP-Brazil
MD, 1998, UFPR- Brazil

Mailman Affiliations

Faculty, Global Health Initiative
Faculty, Columbia Center for Injury Science and Prevention
Faculty, Department of Epidemiology

Columbia Affiliations

Affiliated Faculty, Institute of Latin American Studies
Affiliated Faculty, Global Mental Health Program
Affiliated Faculty, Columbia Population Research Center
Affiliated Faculty, Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies

Other Affiliations

Regular Member- The College on Problems of Drug Dependence
Member- American Psychopathological Association
Member-National Hispanic Science Network
Member-World Psychiatric Association Epidemiology and Public Health Section
Member- CPDD Program Committee
Scientific Advisory Board, Responsible Gaming Accreditation Board

Honors & Awards

Tow Leadership Scholar 2021-2023
2021 Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Sciences Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Joseph Ciarrocchi Recognition Award from the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling for pioneering efforts in research on youth problem gambling, 2011
Calderone Health Equity Award, 2021
Columbia President's Global Innovation Fund, 2020

Areas of Expertise

Adolescent Health, Disparities / Inequalities in Health, Social / Cultural Issues, Social Epidemiology, Underserved Populations, Mental Health, Addiction/Drug Abuse, Urban Health

Select Urban Health Activities

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AS AN INTERVENTION TO REDUCE DRUG-RELATED OUTCOMES AND DEATHS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.: This project will produce scientific knowledge on the impact of structural causes, such as unemployment, as causes of drug and alcohol use disorder, which will lead to promote structural interventions to combat drug-related negative outcomes. This study will also help understand the importance of social safety net structures and evolving drug policy on health disparities, especially in the context of COVID-19.
A natural history study of buprenorphine diversion, self-treatment, and engagement with formal treatment services: The overall purpose of this natural history study is to describe and analyze the nature and consequences of diverted buprenorphine use among heroin and/or non-medical pharmaceutical opioid users (NMPU) with DSM-5 opioid use disorder.

Select Global Activities

OVERDOSE DEATHS IN BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, MEXICO AND THE USA: A COMPARISON ANALYSIS, USA, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico: The overall aim of this proposal is to build capacity among researchers from Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico in the fields of epidemiology and psychiatry to analyze large datasets with secondary data available in each country in order to produce high-quality reports with information about drug overdoses and fill an important gap in the current knowledge. With that, we plan to better understand the drug scenario in the countries of interest and build up a solid background to shape specific public policies directed to high-risk populations.
The health and social consequences of national marijuana legalization : To evaluate the impact of Uruguay's recent national marijuana legalization on adolescent and adult marijuana use and marijuana dependence, as well as on the consequences of marijuana use.

Select Publications

Martins SS, Ponicki W, Smith N, Rivera -Aguirre A, Davis CS, Fink DS, Castillo-Carniglia A, Henry SG, Marshall BDL, Gruenewald P, Cerda M. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Operational Characteristics and Fatal Heroin Poisoning. International Journal of Drug Policy. 2019 Dec;74:174-180. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.10.001. Epub 2019 Oct 15. PMID: 31627159; PMCID: PMC6897357.
Nesoff ED, Branas C, Martins SS. Neighborhood characteristics and travel patterns related to opioid overdoses. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2020 Nov 23:e203823. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.3823. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33226401.
Azevedo Da Silva M, Martins SS. Mutual influences in bullying perpetration and substance use among adolescents in the United States. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2020 Sep;67(3):384-391. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.04.027. Epub 2020 Jun 20. PMID: 32576485.
Carlson RC, Daniulaityte R, Silverstein SM, Nahhas RW, Martins SS. Unintentional drug overdose: Is more frequent use of non-prescribed buprenorphine associated with lower risk of overdose? International Journal of Drug Policy, 2020 Apr 17;79:102722. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102722. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32311513.
Cerda M, Mauro CM, Hamilton A, Levy NS, Santaella-Tenorio J, Hasin DS, Wall MM Keyes KM, Martins SS. Legalization of Recreational Marijuana and association with marijuana use and cannabis use disorder: United States, 2008 - 2016. JAMA Psychiatry, 2019.
Martins SS, Ponicki W, Smith N, Rivera -Aguirre A, Davis CS, Fink DS, Castillo-Carniglia A, Henry SG, Marshall BDL, Grienewald P, Cerda M. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Operational Characteristics and Fatal Heroin Poisoning. International Journal of Drug Policy, 2019.
Martins SS, Sarvet A, Santaella J, Saha T, Grant BF, Hasin DS. Changes in lifetime heroin use and heroin use disorder: United States 2001-2002 to 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry, Mar 29. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0113. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID28355458.
Martins SS, Sampson LA, Cerda M, Galea S. Global prevalence and trends in unintentional drug overdose: A systematic review of the literature. American Journal of Public Health, in press.
Martins SS, Santaella J, Marshall BDL, Maldonado A, MC. Racial/ethnic differences in trends in heroin use and heroin risk behaviors among nonmedical prescription opioid users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 151, 278-283.
Eaton WW, Martins SS, Nestadt G, Bienvenu OJ, Clarke D, Alexandre PK. The Burden of Mental Disorders. Epidemiologic Reviews, 2008, 30:1-14.

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