Dr. Dan Werb


Dan Werb, PhD, is an epidemiologist and policy analyst with expertise working in the fields of HIV, addictions, and drug policy. Dr. Werb defended his PhD at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Dr. Werb is an inaugural recipient of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Avenir Award, which funds highly innovative and potentially high impact research projects at the nexus of HIV and drug use. Dr. Werb’s Avenir Award funds the PRIMER project (PReventing Injecting by Modifying Existing Responses), a multi-site, international study seeking to test the potential impact of existing structural interventions on reducing the risk that people who inject drugs initiate others into injecting.

Dr. Werb is also the Director of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, a Toronto-based research institute focused on systematic assessments of the evidence on the effectiveness of illicit drug policy. His research interests are wide ranging and include preventing injection drug use, the effect of drug law enforcement on public health, global drug supply reduction, discretionary policing, identifying determinants of illicit drug market participation, and drug market violence. He is a researcher with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and a Visiting Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Dr. Werb is a 2012 Trudeau Foundation Scholar, a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellow, and the recipient of a 2014 National Magazine Award in Canada for his general interest science journalism.

Selected publications

  • Werb D, Strathdee SA, Meza E, Rangel G, Palinkas L, Medina-Mora ME, Beletsky L. Institutional stakeholder perceptions of barriers to addiction treatment under Mexico’s drug policy reform. Global Public Health, in press.
  • Werb D, Wagner KD, Beletsky L, Strathdee S. Police bribery and access to methadone maintenance therapy within the context of drug policy reform in Tijuana, Mexico. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 148:221-5.
  • Werb D, Kerr T, Buxton J, Shoveller J, Richardson C, Montaner J, Wood E. Patterns of injection drug use cessation during an expansion of syringe exchange services in a Canadian setting. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, in press. 
  •  Werb D, Milloy MJ, Kerr T, Zhang R, Montaner JSG, Wood E. Injection drug use and HIV antiretroviral therapy discontinuation in a Canadian setting. AIDS and Behavior, 2013;17(1):68-73. 

  • Werb D, Mills EJ, DeBeck K, Kerr T, Montaner JSG, Wood E. The effectiveness of anti-illicit drug public service announcements: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health; 2011;65(10):834-840. 

  • Werb D, Kerr T, Fast D, Qi J, Montaner JSG, Wood E. Drug-related risks among street youth in two neighborhoods in a Canadian setting. Health & Place, 2010;16(5):1061-1067. 

  • Werb D, Mills EJ, Montaner JSG, Wood E. Risk of resistance to HIV antiretroviral therapy among patients with and without a history of injection drug use. Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2010;(10)7:464-469. 

  • Werb D, DeBeck K, Kerr T, Li K, Montaner J, Wood E. Modeling crack use trends in a Canadian setting. Drug and Alcohol Review, 2010;29(3):271-7. 

  • Werb D, Hayashi K, Fairbairn N, Kaplan K, Suwannawong P, Lai C, Kerr T. Drug use patterns among Thai illicit drug users amidst increased police presence. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 2009;4(1). 

  • Werb D, Kerr T, Wood E, Small W, Strathdee S, Montaner J. Effects of police confiscation of illicit drugs and syringes among injection drug users in Vancouver. International Journal of Drug Policy 2008;(19)4:332-8. 

  • Werb D, Kerr T. HIV risks associated with incarceration among injection drug users: implications for prison-based public health strategies. Journal of Public Health 2008;30(2):126-32. 

  •  Werb D, Kerr T, Li K, Montaner J, Wood E. Risks surrounding drug trade involvement among a cohort of street-involved youth. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 2008;34(6):810-20.   

Research projects:

  • PRIMER: PReventing Injecting by Modifying Existing Responses (NIH DA040256-01).
  • International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. Funding source: Open Society Foundation/MAC AIDS Fund.