We are a multidisciplinary team that examines the intersection between health behavior, mental health, and addiction.
We address essential questions, like:
  • Why are some people more likely to use and abuse drugs?
  • How do drugs alter the way we think, feel, and behave?
  • What makes something addictive?
By answering these questions we can:
  • 1. Understand and reduce health disparities in cancer and other addiction-related diseases.
  • 2. Prevent and treat addiction and associated mental health problems.
  • 3. Identify the basic mechanisms of emotion and motivation.
High-Nicotine E-Cigs May Be Gateway to Smoking for Teens Teens who vape e-cigarettes with higher nicotine levels are more likely to start smoking conventional cigarettes soon after, new research shows. Learn More
E-cigarettes Use in Youth Considered Emerging Public Health Concern The 2016 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on e-cigarette use among youth and young adults comprehensively reviews the public health issue of electronic cigarettes and their impact on our nation’s young people.Over the last half century, the U.S. Surgeon General has released 32 comprehensive reports outlining the impact of tobacco use on this nation’s health and well-being. The 33rd report, which addresses e-cigarette use among youth and young adults, adds significant data and analysis to the science of this important public health issue. Learn More
Teen vaping assoicated wtih future cigarette use High school students who vape at the start of a school year are more likely to become heavy smokers by the end, compared to their peers who don’t vape, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Learn More
Jungeun Olivia Lee, Ph.D., MSW Socioeconomic Status and Behavioral Health

Nov 14th, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm SSB Room 301 2011 N. Soto Street

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Dr. Matthew Kirkpatrick awarded the Young Psychopharmacologist Award Congratulations to Dr. Kirkpatrick for receiving the Young Psychopharmacologist Award at APA’s 2016 Division 28 Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse Convention!
HEAL Research used in TV Spot An recent publication by HEAL in JAMA was featured in a Television spot by the California Department of Public Health. Watch Here
Teen vapers have easy time buying supplies online Research has shown that online purchasing of liquid nicotine and electronic cigarettes is largely unregulated, as many teens have been buying such products through online vendors. Director of USC-HEAL, Dr. Adam Leventhal, explains that this is highly dangerous because teens who are purchasing the e-cigarettes may have younger siblings who could be at risk of swallowing the liquids, which can be deadly. Learn More
WIRED Interview on Vaping WIRED magazine writer, Brent Rose, interviews Dr. Adam Leventhal regarding the potential health effects of vaping. Watch Here
ACS Relay For Life of USC Event Dr. Adam Leventhal will be speaking at the American Cancer Society Relay For Life event on Sunday, April 3rd at 10:00am. The event is open to the public, and will take place on April 2-3 at Cromwell Track & Field. Learn More
How to be a Prolific Addictions Researcher and Maintain Balance in your Life The Society of Addiction Psychology (SoAP) Live Podcast with Dr. Adam Leventhal, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Southern California. He directs the USC Health, Emotion, and Addiction Laboratory (HEAL), a research group that studies the intersection of mental health, addiction, and health behavior, with interests spanning psychopharmacology, developmental psychopathology, and epidemiology of addiction. Listen Here
The Sociopharmacology of Tobacco Addiction: Implications for Understanding Health Disparities This article released in the February issue of nicotine and tobacco research by HEAL director Adam Leventhal on Sociopharmacology selected as a editors choice article and accompanied by a editorial by Dr. Brian Hitsman. Learn More
Teenagers Who Try E-Cigarettes Are More Than Twice as Likely to Start Smoking There is a lot of debate about the use of e-cigarettes, however longitudinal studies have provided evidence that adolescents who use e-cigarettes have an increased likelihood that they will then progress to smoking traditional cigarettes, as suggested by results from surveys following high school students in Hawaii conduced by Wills and colleagues. Such results are consistent with those from USC-HEAL lab’s study conducted in Los Angeles High Schools. Learn More
Junhan Cho, Ph.D. Parent and Youth Dopamine D4 Receptor Genotypes Moderate Multilevel Contextual Effects on Youth’s Risk Behavior

Jan 22nd, 3:45 pm – 5:00 pm SSB2 Room 2904 2011 N. Soto Street

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Teen Smokers May Be Hard-Wired to Crave Cigarettes Teen smokers might crave nicotine in part because their brains respond differently than adults to seeing people light up. Learn More
Teens with Fewer Mental Health Issues Turn to E-Cigarettes Adolescents with moderate emotional health problems do not smoke, but they may vape, USC-HEAL study finds. Surveyed teens who picked up vaping had emotional and behavioral problems that fell midway between smokers and teens who neither vaped nor smoked. Learn More
Genes May Make It Harder for Some to Quit Smoking A story by the American Cancer Society featured Adam Leventhal, PhD, associate professor and director of USC HEAL, on the role genetics play in tobacco addiction. “We need to have a better understanding of the biology of tobacco addiction, particularly in this high-priority population,” Leventhal said. Learn More
Healthy Debate New Beginnings: Better Vagal Maneuvers for Arrhythmias and eCigarettes in Adolescents Learn More
Teens who use e-cigarettes may be transitioning to tobacco products, research shows A multi-university team led by Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) researchers has found, for the first time, that using or “vaping” of electronic cigarettes is associated with a propensity to start smoking cigarettes or other, harmful tobacco products. Learn More
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HEAL Seminar Series: Mark Kaplan

Acute use of alcohol and suicide: Lessons Learned from national postmortem data
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