Dr. Silvia S. Martins is the Director of the Substance Abuse Epidemiology Unit of the Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. 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 150 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, the relationship of perceived availability of marijuana with medical marijuana laws, traffic fatalities and medical marijuana laws and increasing trends in heroin use and heroin use disorder in the general U.S. adult population. 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 marijuana laws in the U.S, recreational marijuana laws in Uruguay, prescription drug monitoring programs, social media and marijuana, 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.
Affiliated Faculty, Institute of Latin American Studies
Affiliated Faculty, Global Mental Health Program
Affiliated Faculty, Columbia Population Research Center
Member- American Psychopathological Association
Member-National Hispanic Science Network
Member-World Psychiatric Association Epidemiology and Public Health Section
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, 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 Global Activities
URBANICITY, CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND ADOLESCENT COMORBID PSYCHOPATHOLOGY IN BRAZIL AND CHILE, Brazil, Chile: This project aims to build capacity among Brazilian epidemiology and child psychiatry researchers to conduct epidemiological longitudinal studies to identify potentially modifiable risk factors for the development of psychiatric co-morbidity (including substance use) from childhood to adolescence, focusing on the central role of traumatic events experienced in childhood among an urban population.
CITIES AND MENTAL HEALTH: EXAMINING SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF MENTAL DISORDERS IN LARGE URBAN AREAS IN A MULTICENTRIC ANALYSIS OF THE WORLD MENTAL HEALTH SURVEY INITIATIVE, Brazil: This project aims to identify and analyze the social determinants of mental disorders in the ten megacities (cities with more than 10 million inhabitants) of the World Mental Health Survey Initiative (WMHSI): New York City, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Lagos, Mexico City, Paris, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, totaling around 20,000 individuals (an average of 2,000 per megacity), representing a reasonably well-distributed sample from low (Nigeria and China), medium (Brazil, Argentina and Mexico) and high (United States and France) income countries.
The health and social consequences of national marijuana legalization , Uruguay: 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.
Palamar JJ, Barratt MJ, Coney L, Martins SS. Synthetic cannabinoid use among high school seniors. 2017, Oct;140(4). pii: e20171330. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-1330. Epub 2017 Sep 11.
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.
Martins SS, Fenton MC, Keyes KM, Blanco C, Zhu H, Storr CL. Mood/Anxiety disorders and their association with non-medical prescription opioid use and prescription opioid use disorder: longitudinal evidence from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Psychological Medicine, 2012; 42(6):1261-72.