Campus Directory

University of South Florida · College of Behavioral & Community Sciences · Mental Health Law & Policy

Khary Rigg, PhD

At USF, Khary Rigg is an assistant professor in the Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, a faculty affiliate with the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Sociology. He is also a current fellow with the Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives at University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rigg received his Ph.D. from University of Miami and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center/University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Prior to coming to USF in 2013, he worked as senior research associate on five NIDA funded grants with a particular focus on prescription drug abuse and HIV prevention. His research intersects the fields of behavioral health, medicine, and public health, and focuses on improving the prevention and treatment of problematic substance use. His research focuses on a variety of vulnerable populations including adolescents, military veterans, rural communities, treatment populations, and racial/ethnic minorities.

His substantive foci fall into 3 main areas:

  • The prevention/treatment of substance abuse, particularly prescription drug abuse;
  • The prevention of drug-related HIV transmission;
  • The development of culturally relevant approaches to intervention.

Dr. Rigg’s work has been published widely in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Drug & Alcohol Dependence, Journal of Community Psychology, Prevention Science, Addictive Behaviors, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, and International Journal of Drug Policy. His research has helped guide law enforcement, clinicians, regulatory agencies and industry to develop policy initiatives and recommendations for best practices. His most recent work on prescription opioid abuse has been cited in court cases, policy briefs, and industry documents, as well as covered in the media.

Dr. Rigg has received a number of awards and honors for his work in the field of substance use. He was recently selected as the winner of the American Sociological Association Alcohol Drug & Tobacco Section's 2015 Junior Scholar Award. He was also the recipient of a Minority Scholar Award given by AcademyHealth and the Aetna Foundation in 2013. Dr. Rigg currently serves on the editorial boards of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors and Substance Use & Misuse.

Dr. Rigg is the PI of two mixed method research projects. The first project investigates MDMA (ecstasy/molly) use among African-Americans, while the second project looks at prescription opioid misuse in rural communities. He also teaches several courses at USF, including Drug Abuse Prevention & Treatment, Multidisciplinary Behavioral Healthcare, and Applied Data Analysis.


  • B.S., Florida International University
  • M.S., University of Miami
  • Ph.D., University of Miami

Research Interests

  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment
  • Drug-Related HIV Transmission
  • Culturally Relevant Approaches to Intervention
  • Mixed-Method/Community-Based Participatory Research


Recent Publications

Moore, K., Barongi, M., Rigg, K. K. 2016. Experiences of young adult offenders who completed a drug court treatment program. Qualitative Health Research (available online).

Monnat, S. M., & Rigg, K. K. 2016. Examining rural/urban differences in prescription opioid misuse among U.S. adolescents. Journal of Rural Health, 32, 204–218.

Murphy, J. W., & Rigg, K. K. 2015. Rethinking causality in the social sciences: Implications for research and health interventions. In Jared A. Jaworski (Ed.), Advances in Sociology Research (pp. 1-12). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Rigg, K. K., & Monnat, S. M. 2015. Comparing characteristics of prescription painkiller misusers and heroin users in the United States. Addictive Behaviors, 51, 106-112. (IF=2.764).

True, J. G., Rigg, K. K., & Butler, A. 2015. Understanding barriers to mental health care for recent war veterans through photovoice. Qualitative Health Research, 25(10), 1443-1455.

Ford, J. A., & Rigg, K. K. 2015. Racial/ethnic differences in factors that place adolescents at risk for prescription opioid misuse. Prevention Science, 16(5), 633-641.

Rigg, K. K., & Monnat, S. M. 2015. Urban vs. rural differences in prescription opioid misuse among adults in the United States: Informing region-specific drug policies and interventions. International Journal of Drug Policy, 26, 484-491.

Murphy, J. W., & Rigg, K. K. 2014. Clarifying the philosophy behind the Community Mental Health Act and community-based interventions. Journal of Community Psychology, 42(3), 285-298.

Rigg, K. K., & Ford, J. 2014. The misuse of benzodiazepines among adolescents: Psychosocial risk factors in a national sample. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 137(1), 137-142.

Rigg, K. K., & DeCamp, W. 2014. Explaining prescription opioid misuse among veterans: A theory-based analysis using structural equation modeling. Military Behavioral Health, 2(2), 210-216.

Rigg, K. K., Cook, H. H., Murphy, J. W. 2014. Expanding the scope and relevance of health interventions: Moving beyond clinical trials and behavior change models. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being, 9:24743.

Ibañez, G. E., Levi-Minzi, M., Rigg, K. K., & Mooss, A. D. 2013. Diversion of benzodiazepines through healthcare sources. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 45(1), 48–56.

Rigg, K. K., & Wilson, G. 2013. Can patient-physician race concordance improve health outcomes for African-American HIV patients? Evidence, insights, and implications. In M. S. Harris (Ed.), African-American perspectives: Family dynamics, healthcare, and the role of ethnic identity (pp. 155-168). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Rigg, K. K., & Murphy, J. W. 2013. Storylines as a neglected tool for mental health service providers and researchers. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 11(4), 431-440.

Rigg, K. K., & Murphy, J. W. 2013. Understanding the etiology of prescription opioid abuse: Implications for prevention and treatment. Qualitative Health Research, 23(7), 963-975.

Rigg, K. K., Kurtz, S. P., & Surratt, H. L. 2012. Patterns of prescription medication diversion among drug dealers. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, 19(2), 145-155.

Rigg, K. K., & Ibañez, G. E. 2010. Motivations for non-medical prescription drug use: A mixed methods analysis. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 39(3), 236-247.

Rigg, K. K., March, S., & Inciardi, J. A. 2010. Prescription drug abuse and diversion: Role of the pain clinic. Journal of Drug Issues, 40(3), 681-702.