Katherine McLean, PhD

Lion Penn State Mark
Assistant Professor, Administration of Justice
Office Phone
Office Location
Main Building, 109C
Penn State Greater Allegheny, 4000 University Drive, McKeesport, PA 15132

Virtual office hours via Zoom, March 16 - April 3.


Tue - 10:00am - 12:00pm

Dr. McLean is a sociologist and ethnographer whose research explores the intersection between criminal justice and public health; her past and present projects specifically consider how the simultaneous criminalization and medicalization of illicit drug use impact individual identity, community health, and other social institutions.

She is particularly interested in "harm reduction" strategies like syringe exchange, and how such programs exist within and adapt to the "war on drugs." Her current research project consider how social networks shape, and are shaped by heroin and opioid use in southwest Pennsylvania.

Teaching Interests:

Criminal justice; drug use and health; sociology of medicine and deviance; alternatives to incarceration

Research Interests

Illicit drug use; harm reduction; public health; critical criminology


McLean, K. (2017). From 'junkies' to 'soccer moms': Newspaper representations of overdose, 1988 - 2014. Critical Criminology (in press)

McLean, K. (2016). Good Samaritans vs. predatory peddlers: Problematizing the war on overdose in the

McLean, K. (2016). 'There's nothing here': Deindustrialization as risk environment for overdose. International Journal of Drug Policy 29: 19-26.

McLean, K. (2015). From responsible users to recalcitrant dope fiends: Mapping modes of engagement with harm reduction. Addiction Research & Theory 23: 490-498.


Ph.D., CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology

M.S., Harvard Univ., Public Health

B.A., Columbia Univ., Biology

Course Schedule
Spring 2020 Semester:
Greater Allegheny
BBH 494-001 Research Project
By Appointment
CRIMJ 424W-001 Drugs and Crime
Frable Building 221
Th 10:35am-11:50am
CRIMJ 424W-001 Drugs and Crime