Lee Hoffer

Associate Professor


Mather Memorial Building Room 205

Other Information

Degree: Ph.D., University of Colorado, Denver, 2002
M.P.E., Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, 2004

Dr. Hoffer’s research focuses on understanding the political, social, cultural, and clinical contexts related to illicit drug use. This work has informed a range of topics, including; HIV risk behaviors of drug injectors, diagnostic nosology for substance use disorders, understanding trends in drug use, as well as drug policy and intervention studies. More recently, Dr. Hoffer’s research examines how illicit drug markets, and the acquisition of drugs, influences users behaviors and negative health outcomes. In 2000, Dr. Hoffer conducted an eighteen month ethnographic case-study of a heroin dealing network in Denver, Colorado. This fieldwork focused on the dealer’s business operations; transactions with customers; the interaction between addiction and drug acquisition; social and economic exchange relationships; as well as, characterizing the history of the local heroin market.

This research is detailed in his book Junkie Business: the Evolution and Operation of a Heroin Dealing Network (Thompson-Wadsworth Press, 2006). His ongoing research involves synthesizing agent-based computational modeling techniques and ethnographic research to develop new tools for policymakers and researchers. Borrowing from theories of Complexity Systems, these projects seek to connect the rich descriptive detail offered by anthropology with the epidemiology of drug abuse.

From 1997-1999 Dr. Hoffer was Colorado’s representative to NIDA’s Community Epidemiology Workgroup. He was also active in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV community planning efforts. From 2002-2005 he trained as a (T32) NIDA post-doctoral fellow in psychiatric epidemiology at Washington University School of Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group (EPRG), mentoring with Dr. Linda Cottler. His research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, as well as, The National Science Foundation (Cultural Anthropology & Methods, Measurement, and Statistics program).



  • A full list of publications is also available in Dr. Hoffer’s CV (.pdf)


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