COVID-19 and Illicit Markets

Hosted by LSE's public event series - COVID-19: The Policy Response

Online public event


Naomi Burke-Shyne

Naomi Burke-Shyne

Jason Eligh

Jason Eligh

Gabriel Feltran

Gabriel Feltran

Kasia Malinowska

Kasia Malinowska

Alexander Söderholm

Alexander Söderholm


Dr John Collins

Dr John Collins

The potential impact of COVID-19 on economic markets is well known and widely discussed. But what about the markets we know less about, namely illicit markets? Drug markets, policymakers and people who use drugs are facing an unprecedented situation. Join this discussion - a blend of on-the-ground narratives and broader policy perspectives - to hear how we might best respond.

Naomi Burke-Shyne (@NaomiSBS) is the Executive Director of Harm Reduction International. She has more than 10 years of international experience at the intersection of harm reduction, HIV and human rights. She is a member of the Strategic Advisory Group to the UN on HIV and Drug Use, a member of the Global Fund Technical Review Panel for Human Rights and Gender, and a member of the World Health Organization Guidelines Group on 'Ensuring Balance in National Policies on Controlled Substances'.

Jason Eligh (@JasonEligh) is a Senior Expert at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. He is an illicit drug market and policy analyst who has researched, developed and led technical cooperation and assistance initiatives addressing illicit drugs across African and Asian geographies. His current work focuses on understanding the contexts and characteristics influencing drug use behaviours and the structural resilience of drug trade environments, particularly as these factors relate to the development and sustainability of harm.

Gabriel Feltran is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the Federal University of São Carlos in Brazil, and currently Senior Researcher at the Brazilian Centre for Planning and Analysis (CEBRAP). His current research looks at criminal groups and illegal markets in Brazil, focussing on collective action, marginalized groups and "the criminal world" in São Paulo.

Kasia Malinowska (@OSFKasia) is the director of the Global Drug Policy Program at the Open Society Foundations. She previously led the Open Society’s International Harm Reduction Development program, which supports the health and human rights of people who use drugs. She publishes regularly on drug policy as it relates to women, social justice, health, human rights, civil society, and governance, and she co-authored Poland’s first National AIDS program and has helped formulate policy in international organisations.

Alexander Söderholm (@AlexSoderholm)  is the Policy Coordinator of the LSE International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), and the Managing Editor of the Journal of Illicit Economies and Development. He is currently a PhD Candidate in Social Policy at the LSE with a research project titled 'Drugs, Livelihoods, and Development: The Role of Illicit Markets in Determining Development Outcomes'. He has also worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Iran and has conducted research and policy work in a number of countries, such as Thailand, Myanmar, South Africa, Colombia, and Brazil, on issues related to illicit markets and sustainable development.

John Collins (@JCollinsIDPU) is Executive Director of the LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), a Fellow of the LSE US Centre and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Yale Centre for the Study of Globalization. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Illicit Economies and Development (JIED), an Open Access journal published by LSE Press.

This event is part of LSE's public event series - COVID-19: The Policy Response.

COVID-19 represents an enormous challenge for the social sciences to help governments and non-governmental organisations respond to the economic and societal consequences of the pandemic. Part of LSE's response to this challenge is a series of online public events that will take place over the Summer Term.

Why not visit the School of Public Policy COVID-19 Resource Centre.

This event in the series has been organised by the International Drug Policy Unit.

The next event in this series will take place at 2pm on 3 June on Post COVID-19 Futures of the Urbanising World.

The International Drug Policy Unit (@LSEIDPU) is a cross-regional and multidisciplinary project, designed to establish a global centre for excellence in the study of international drug policy.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECOVID19

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download at COVID-19 and Illicit Markets.

A video of this event is available to watch at COVID-19 and Illicit Markets.

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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