Accessibility statement

Theodore Caputi
PhD Student



Theodore graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics in 2017 and first in his class with a Master of Public Health from University College Cork as a Mitchell Scholar in 2019. From 2018-2019, he was a Research Assistant for Professor Amanda Pallais at Harvard University’s Department of Economics and the National Bureau of Economic Research. Theodore's personal website is



Theodore is interested in the intersection of economics and health. Specifically, he uses tools from economics (and related fields) to explore behavioral public health and health care policy for substance use disorders and addiction. He has researched the factors that lead adolescents and young adults to indulge in risky behaviors and how policy-makers can effectively and efficiently provide high-quality health care for people with substance use disorders. 

His work has been featured in journals such as Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA); JAMA Internal Medicine; Health Affairs; Addiction; American Journal of Preventive Medicine; American Journal of Public Health; and Tobacco Control and in news outlets such as the LA Times and CNN.

Research group(s)

Health Services & Policy Group


Full publications list

Nobles AL, Leas EC, Caputi TL, Zhu S, Strathdee S, Ayers JW. “Did I say something wrong?”: Responses to addiction help-seeking from Intelligent Virtual Assistants on Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Bixby, and Cortana. npj Digital Medicine. Forthcoming. 

Leas EC, Nobles AL, Caputi TL, Smith D, Dredze M, Ayers JW. Trends in internet searches for cannabidiol (CBD) in the United States. JAMA Network Open. Forthcoming. 

Caputi TL, Shover CL, Watson RJ. Physical and sexual violence among U.S. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning adolescents, 2015-2017. JAMA Pediatrics. Forthcoming. 

Ayers JW, Dredze M, Leas EC, Allem J, Caputi TL, Cohen J. Next generation media monitoring: Global coverage of electronic nicotine delivery systems (electronic cigarettes) on Bing, Google, and Twitter, 2013-2018. PLoS ONE. 2018 Nov 2;13(11):e0205822. DOI: 10.1371/journal. pone.0205822. 

Caputi TL, Nobles A, Ayers JW. Internet searches for sexual harassment and assault, reporting, and training following #MeToo. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2019 Feb 1;179(2):258-9. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.5094. 

Ayers JW, Caputi TL, Nebeker C, Dredze M. Don’t quote me: Reverse identification of research participants in social media studies using Twitter. npj Digital Medicine. 2018 Aug 2;1(1):30. DOI: 10.1038/s41746-018-0036-2. 

Caputi TL, Smith L, Strathdee S, Ayers JW. Substance use among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning adolescents in the United States, 2015. American Journal of Public Health. 2018 Aug;108(8):1031-4. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304446. 

Caputi TL, Humphreys K. Medical marijuana users are more likely to use and misuse prescription drugs. Journal of Addiction Medicine. 2018 July/August;12(4):295-299. DOI: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000405. 

Caputi TL, Leas EC, Dredze M, Ayers JW. Online sales of marijuana: An unrecognized public health dilemma. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2018 May 1;54(5):719-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.01.032. 

Caputi TL. Sex and orientation identity matter in the substance use behaviors of sexual minority adolescents in the United States. Drug & Alcohol Dependence. 2018 Jun 1;187:142-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.01.012. 

Caputi TL, Smith D, Ayers JW. Suicide risk behaviors among sexual minority adolescents in the United States, 2015. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association. 2017 Dec 19;318(23):2349-51. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.16908. 

Caputi TL, Dredze M, Cohen J, Ayers JW. They’re heating up: Search query data reveals significant public interest in heat-not-burn tobacco products. PLoS ONE. 12(10): e0185735. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185735. 

Caputi TL. Google searches for ”cheap cigarettes” spike at tax increases: Evidence from an algorithm to detect spikes in time series data. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 2017 Jun 22;20(6):779-83. DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntx143. 

Allem JP, Leas EC, Caputi TL, Dredze M, Althouse BM, Noar SM, Ayers JW. The Charlie Sheen effect on in-home rapid human immunodeficiency virus test sales. Prevention Science. 2017 Jul 1;18(5):541-4. DOI: 10.1007/s11121-017-0792-2. 

Caputi TL, McLellan AT. Truth and D.A.R.E.: Is D.A.R.E.’s new Keepin’ it REAL curriculum suitable for American nationwide implementation? Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. 2017 Jan 2;24(1):49-57. DOI: 10.1080/09687637.2016.1208731. 

Caputi TL. Assessing the possibility of leadership education as psychosocial-based problem behavior prevention for adolescents: A review of the literature. Journal of Leadership Education. 2017 Jan 1;16(1): 115-132. DOI: 1012806/V16/I1/T2. 

Caputi TL. The case for uniform controls in drug policy studies. International Journal of Drug Policy. 2016 Jul 1;33:102-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.06.005. 

Caputi TL. Selling prevention: Using a business framework to analyze the state of prevention and overcome obstacles to expanding substance abuse prevention. Journal of Global Drug Policy & Practice. Spring 2015;9(1):1-24. Available at 

Commentaries in Public Health 

Caputi TL. The medical marijuana industry and the use of “research as marketing”. American Journal of Public Health. Forthcoming. 

Caputi TL. Medical marijuana laws, substance use treatment admissions, and the ecological fallacy. [Letter]. Addiction. Forthcoming. DOI: 10.1111/add.14748. 

Ayers JW, Caputi TL, Leas EC. The need for federal regulation of marijuana marketing. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association. Published online May 16, 2019. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2019.4432. 

Caputi TL. Medical cannabis use. [Letter]. Health Affairs. 2019 May 1;38(5):874-. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2019.00198. 

Caputi TL. Medical marijuana, not miracle marijuana: Some well-publicized studies about medical marijuana don’t pass a reality check. [Letter]. Addiction. 2019 June; 114(6):1128- 1129. DOI: 10.1111/add.14580. 

Caputi TL, Sabet KA. Population-level analyses cannot tell us anything about individuallevel marijuana-opioid substitution patterns. [Letter]. American Journal of Public Health. 2018 Mar; 108(3):e12. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304253. 

Caputi TL, McLellan AT. Response to Comment by Hecht & Miller-Day on “Truth and D.A.R.E.: Is D.A.R.E.’s new Keepin’ it REAL curriculum suitable for American nationwide implementation?”. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. 2017 Mar 4;24(2):226-. DOI: 10.1080/09687637.2017.1288681. 

Caputi TL. Whether medical marijuana is ever substituted for other substances is not the full story. [Letter]. Drug and Alcohol Review. 2017 Jul;36(4):E3-4. DOI: 10.1111/dar.12494. 

Caputi TL. Heat-not-burn tobacco products are about to reach their boiling point. Tobacco Control. 2016 August 24;2016(26):609-610. DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053264. 

Caputi TL, Humphreys K. Medicare recipients’ use of medical marijuana. [Letter]. Health Affairs. 2016 Oct 1;35(10):1936-. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1108. 

Caputi TL, Sabet KA. Where is the ‘reality’ in ‘reality-based’ drug prevention?. [Letter]. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 2016 May 26;48(3):227-9. DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2016.1197989.

External activities


  • American Economic Association
  • American Society for Addiction Medicine

Media coverage 3 UCSD scientists call for tighter regulation of marijuana advertising. The San Diego Union-Tribune. After Alyssa Milano’s \#MeToo tweet, Google searches about sexual assault hit record high. Los Angeles Times. More Google searches for sexual harassment facts since \#MeToo. Reuters. A Marshall Scholarship for Penn. Penn News Today. Is cannabis a cure for the opioid epidemic?. Proto Magazine. LGBQ adolescents at much greater risk of suicide than heterosexual counterparts. Penn News.

Contact details

Theodore Caputi
PhD Student