Paige Lemen

PhD candidate/Graduate Research Assistant, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • United States of America

About Paige Lemen

Paige M. Lemen is a PhD candidate at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, studying the neurobiology and genetics of drug use and substance use disorder (SUD). She specializes in opioid use disorder (OUD) by using rats to model social determinants of health and adolescent adverse experiences, including social isolation, and how they play a role in drug use and the risk of developing OUD in adulthood. However, her research interests stem from years of experience being personally affected by OUD and the overdose crisis. Paige grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, which has one of the highest overdose rates in the US. Here, she experienced a lot of stigma and misinformation about drug use and harm reduction which led to losing loved ones to overdose, incarceration, and harmful policies changes that involved treating drug users and harm reduction workers as the enemy. One example is the use, or lack of use, of naloxone. She is currently working on publishing another paper on naloxone that looks at genetic variation among the differences in response to morphine and naloxone-induced withdrawal. Paige hopes to bring the knowledge of people who use drugs and harm reduction workers to those actually studying and advocating for policy changes surrounding the proper use of naloxone, including the benefits and the risks.

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