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Dr. Rachel Vickers-Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology.

Dr. Vickers-Smith is a substance use epidemiologist whose research focuses on identifying and preventing adverse outcomes and harms related to changing patterns in the drug use landscape, particularly among Veterans and rural people who use drugs. Dr. Vickers-Smith's work was among the first to identify gabapentin as an emerging drug of misuse in the US and is cited frequently in studies of gabapentinoids.

Dr. Vickers-Smith uses mixed methods in many of her studies. She is also a strong advocate of interdisciplinary science and regularly collaborates with colleagues in genetics and medicine.

A Kentucky native, Dr. Vickers-Smith is deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of the Commonwealth.

Dr. Vickers-Smith's Curriculum Vitae

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Dr. Vickers-Smith's NCBI Bibliography

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Dr. Vickers-Smith on Google Scholar

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  • PhD, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
    • University of Kentucky
  • MPH, Health Services Management
    • University of Kentucky
  • BA, Chemistry
    • Asbury University

Research Interests

  • Substance use
  • Appalachian health
  • Mixed methods
  • Electronic health record data
  • Veterans

In the News

Scheduled for trouble: Studying the unintended consequences of classifying controlled substances

Researchers’ reasons for launching a study are sometimes purely intellectual: They may be intrigued by an inexplicable observation or challenged by a compelling question. Other times, the spark may be deeply personal. Such was the case for University of Kentucky (UK) Ph.D. student Kara Cook.

UK researchers to study COVID’s illicit fentanyl market spike in Eastern Kentucky

The perfect storm brought on by the influx of illicit fentanyl combined with the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020 resulted in a 49% spike in