Silvia Martins

Silvia Martins

Silvia Martins

substance use epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology, survey data, problem gambling, medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, prescription opioids, heroin, opioid policies
Associate Professor
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 is also the Department of Epidemiology Co-Investigator of the IMSD program at Columbia. She has co-authored more than 180 peer reviewed epidemiological and substance abuse journal articles, served as PI or MPI of multiple NIH funded grants. Notable recent findings have focused on recent trends in marijuana use, recreational marijuana laws and marijuana outcomes, increasing trends in heroin use and heroin use disorder in the general U.S. adult population and prescription opioid policies and heroin overdoses. She has received several awards for her research and mentoring, including, in 2011, the Award for pioneering efforts in gambling research, in 2013, the Columbia President's Global Innovation Fund and more recently, in 2017, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring. 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 gambling and impulsive behaviors among minority adolescents in the U.S. 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

Columbia Affiliations

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

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
Chair, CPDD Publications Committee
Scientific Advisory Board, Responsible Gaming Accreditation Board

Honors & Awards

American Psychiatric Association Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators Award, 2004 & 2006
Columbia Mailman School of Public Health Dean's Excellence in Mentoring Award, 2017
Joseph Ciarrocchi Recognition Award from the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling for pioneering efforts in research on youth problem gambling, 2011
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Travel Awardee, 2011
Columbia President's Global Innovation Fund, 2013

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

Predictors of Impulsive Behaviors among Puerto-Rican Youth: This study integrates a developmental model of PG, Blaszczynski and Nower's Pathways model (so far only examined cross-sectionally) with a context -and intervention-informed developmental model of other risk behaviors (Ecodevelopmental theory). We will collect new information about gambling behaviors and PG on a high-risk population of 1,100 youth/young adults from two population-based samples of Puerto Rican (ages 15-26) from two sites: the South Bronx (SBx), NYC and San Juan, Puerto Rico (PR) by taking advantage of an ongoing study, the Boricua Youth Study (BYS-R01DA033172, PI: Duarte and R01MH09837, PIs: Alegria, Canino & Duarte), which has been following Puerto Rican individuals prospectively since 2001. This project is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National institute of Child and Human Development-1R01 HD060072.
Trauma, Mental Health, and Early Childhood Development: The overall aim of this proposal is to collect cross-sectional data among 1,250 4-6 year-old children attending preschool in Brazil and their caregivers. The goal is to identify potentially modifiable risk factors for the development of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology in early childhood, focusing on the central role of traumatic events experienced in early childhood among an urban population.
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 Publications

Nesoff ED, Branas C, Martins SS. The geographic distribution of fentanyl-involved overdose deaths in Cook County, Illinois. American Journal of Public Heath, in press.
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.
3. 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.
Santaella J, Mauro C, Wall M, Kim JH, Cerda M, Keyes KM, Hasin DS, Galea S, Martins SS. US Traffic Fatalities, 1985-2014, and Their Relationship to Medical Marijuana Laws. AJPH, 2017 Feb;107(2):336-342. PMC5227945.
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, Mauro C, Santaella J, Kim JH, Cerda M, Keyes KM, Hasin DS, Galea S, Wall MM. State-level Medical Marijuana Laws, Marijuana Use and Perceived Availability of Marijuana among the General U.S. Population. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2016 Dec 1;169:26-32. PMC5140747.
Martins S.S., W.M.M., Eisenberg R., Blanco C., Santaella J., Ramos-Olazagasti M., Canino G., Bird H.R., Brown Q., Duarte C.S. (2015). Trajectories of Sensation Seeking Among Puerto Rican Children and Youth. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(12), 1042-1050.
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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