Rigg, Khary, PhD

Rigg, Khary, PhD


Khary Rigg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law & Policy and a Faculty Affiliate of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at University of South Florida (USF). Dr. Rigg also holds a courtesy appointment within USF’s Sociology Department and is a current fellow with the Center for Public Health Initiatives at University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rigg received his Ph.D. from the University of Miami and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion.

Prior to coming to USF in 2013, he worked as a Senior Research Associate at the University of Delaware’s Center for Drug & Alcohol Studies and Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities. He has worked on over five National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded projects investigating prescription drug misuse among a variety of populations, including drug treatment clients, street-based drug users, military veterans, commercial sex workers, and gay/bi-sexual men.

Since arriving at USF four years ago, he has expanded his work on prescription drug misuse, and extended his focus to opioid misuse in rural communities, older adults, and young people in the club scene. Dr. Rigg’s current research utilizes a variety of approaches ranging from qualitative community-based studies of local opioid users/dealers to statistically analyzing national data sets to identify drivers of and solutions to the opioid epidemic.

Most recently, his research has focused primarily on identifying rural-urban differences in the epidemic. His interest in rural areas stems from the fact that opioid-related mortality has reached epidemic levels in many small towns. Because interventions to address the rural opioid crisis have been largely ineffective, his research has attempted to provide public health professionals, treatment practitioners, researchers, and policymakers with much needed information that can be used to inform services in these areas.

Dr. Rigg’s research also focuses on drug use within the nightlife and club scene. He recently completed a project that investigated the use of synthetic drugs (e.g., ecstasy/molly) and prescription medication misuse (e.g., opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants) among African-American young adults in the Tampa Bay club scene. The findings of this project have been published widely in scientific journals and shed new light on which and how interventions should be delivered to this population.

Dr. Rigg’s research has been published in an assortment of high impact journals, including Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Drug & Alcohol Dependence, Journal of Community Psychology, Prevention Science, International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, Journal of Drug Issues, Addictive Behaviors, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Journal of Rural Health, Military Behavioral Health, and International Journal of Drug Policy. His work has helped guide law enforcement, clinicians, regulatory agencies and industry to develop policy initiatives and recommendations for best practices. His most recent research on prescription opioid misuse has been cited in court cases, congressional hearings, policy briefs, and industry documents, as well as covered in the media. Dr. Rigg has also published several policy briefs and commentaries that have sparked national dialogue on issues such as the opioid-crime connection and rural-urban differences in the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Rigg has received numerous distinctions for his work. He has been appointed to the editorial boards of four scientific journals including, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Qualitative Social Work, The Harm Reduction Journal, and Substance Use & Misuse. Dr. Rigg was also named Outstanding Junior Scholar in 2015 by the American Sociological Association (Alcohol, Drugs, & Tobacco Section) and was the recipient of the Minority Scholar Award in 2013 given by the Aetna Foundation. Most recently, in 2016, he was selected as a fellow by UCLA’s Center for HIV/AIDS, Substance Abuse, and Trauma. Dr. Rigg is also a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Connections Program and serves as a subject matter expert for the Criminal Justice, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Technical Assistance Center at the Florida Mental Health Institute.



Research Interests


Recent Publications

Rigg, K. K., & Menendez, K. (2018). Drug prevention programs in schools: Considerations for selecting program providers. Health Education Journal.(published online)

Rigg, K. K., Monnat, S., & Chavez, M. (2018). Opioid use disorders and mortality in rural America. International Journal of Drug Policy. (published online)

Rigg, K. K., & Sharp, A. (2018). Nonmedical prescription drug use among African Americans who use MDMA: Implications for risk reduction (ecstasy/molly). Addictive Behaviors, 79, 159-165.

Conner, K.O., Yu, L., Pilkonis, P., Rigg, K. K., & Brown, C. (2018). Psychometric properties of the attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment scale. Journal of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. (published online)

Szalavitz, M., & Rigg, K. K. (2017). The curious (dis)connection between the opioid epidemic and crime. Substance Use & Misuse. 49(14), 1927-1931.

Rigg, K. K. (2017). MDMA (ecstasy/molly) use among African-Americans: Patterns of initiation. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction. (published online)

Rigg, K. K., & Lawental, M. (2017). Perceived risk associated with MDMA (ecstasy/molly) use among African-Americans. Substance Use & Misuse. (published online)

Rigg, K. K., Engelman, D., & Ramirez, J. (2017). Community-based interventions and primary healthcare. In Steven Arxer & John Murphy (Eds.), International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice (pp. 105-117). New York, NY: Springer.

Rigg, K. K. (2017). Motivations for MDMA (ecstasy/molly) use among African-Americans: Implications for prevention and harm reduction programs. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 49(3), 192-200.

Moore, K., Barongi, M., & Rigg, K. K. (2017). Experiences of young adult offenders who completed a drug court treatment program. Qualitative Health Research, 27(5), 750-758.

Murphy, J. W., & Rigg, K. K. (2016). 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.

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.

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.

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.

Monnat, S. M., & Rigg, K. K. (2015). Rural adolescents are more likely than their urban peers to abuse prescription painkillers. Carsey Research National Policy Brief, (32), 1-2.

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.

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 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.