Katherine McLean, Ph.D.

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

    Spring 2022

    On-Campus Office Hours:

    Monday: 1:00 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

    Virtual Office Hours:

    Thursday: 1:00 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

    Zoom URL : https://psu.zoom.us/my/katherine.mclean

    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