While we have witnessed some important changes in dominant political and policy discourses around drug users in recent decades – as evidenced for example in the growth of harm reduction approaches – the myths, stereotypes and moral condemnation of drug suppliers have remained mostly unchallenged.
Cryptomarkets – aka ‘darknet’ drug markets – are online but ‘hidden’ marketplaces that allow drug sellers and buyers to transact anonymously yet in plain sight of law enforcement. To the extent that drug cryptomarkets are designed – and actually function – as self-regulating eco-systems, we are, arguably, encouraged to revisit policies and practices that cast drug supply activity as morally reprehensible and exclusively harm-producing; indeed, the eradicable cause of the ‘drug problem’.
In this lecture, Professor Aldridge evaluates the relative harms and benefits of the online drug trade compared to traditional offline drug buying and selling. She explains why criminologists and policy makers should pay attention to cryptomarkets as an important criminal innovation.
Doors open at 6pm for tea and coffee, and the talk begins at 6.30pm with the opportunity to ask questions afterwards.
About Professor Aldridge
Professor Judith Aldridge is Professor of Criminology in the School of Law at the University of Manchester. Her research is focused on drug markets, policy and use. Over the last five years she has pioneered research in the area of ‘virtual drug markets’, culminating in the first publication connected to drug sales on ‘Silk Road’.
She co-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Drug Policy. In connection to this work, she has acted in advisory/expert capacity to agencies including the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Abuse (EMCDDA), and the European Commission.