University of Pittsburgh
July 31, 2006

Leading Expert on U.S. Drug Policy to Speak at Pitt


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Pitt's School of Social Work and Center on Race and Social Problems is presenting a special lecture from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, featuring Jonathan Caulkins, one of the nation's leading experts on U.S. drug problems, policies, and programs. The free talk will take place in Room 2017 of the Cathedral of Learning, and lunch will be provided.

Caulkins, a professor of operations research and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz School and former codirector of RAND's Drug Policy Research Center, will deliver a lecture titled "A Policy Analysis of Alternative Drug Control Strategies."

Caulkins specializes in mathematical modeling and systems analysis of social policy problems, with a particular focus on drugs, crime, violence, and prevention. He studies the cost effectiveness of a wide range of drug and violence control interventions, including incarceration and prevention. His recent research involves melding methods of biomathematics, economics, and policy analysis to understand how drug control policy should evolve over the course of an epidemic of drug use or violence. Caulkins' research landed him the prestigious David R. Kershaw Award, which recognizes individuals under the age of 40 who have made distinguished contributions to the field of public policy analysis.

He received bachelor's degrees in systems science and engineering, computer science, and engineering and policy and a master's degree in systems science and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. By age 24, he had earned another master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science and a Ph.D. in operations research-both at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Caulkins' published papers include "An Ounce of Prevention, a Pound of Uncertainty" (RAND, 1999), "Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences: Throwing Away the Key or the Taxpayer's Money" (RAND, 1997), and many others.

Registration is required as seating is limited. To register, contact Linda Hilinski at

412-624-6304 or by Wednesday, Aug. 9.