Leo Beletsky’s expertise is in the public health impact of laws and their enforcement, with a special focus on drug overdose, infectious disease transmission, and criminal justice reform through a public health lens.  Throughout his career, Professor Beletsky has applied his skills and expertise in service to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the City of New York.



JD: Temple University

MPH: Brown University

Post-doctoral training: Yale University

Institutional Affiliations & Appointments

Director, Health in Justice Action Lab

Faculty Scholar, Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research

Associate Adjunct Professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine

Fellow, Justice Collaborative Institute

Research Interests:

Social Epidemiology of Law and its Enforcement, Public Health Law, Overdose Prevention, Infectious Disease Prevention, Structural Determinants of Health


Global Health

Selected Recent Publications:

Beletsky L, Wakeman SE, and Fiscella K. Practicing What We Preach – Ending Physician Health Program Bans on Opioid-Agonist Therapy. New England Journal of Medicine 2019; 381(9):796-797.

Arredondo J, Beletsky L (joint first authors), Baker P, Abramovitz D, Artamonova I, Clairgue E, Morales M, Mittal ML, Rocha-Jimenez T, Kerr T, Banuelos A, Strathdee SA, and Cepeda J. Interactive Versus Video-Based Training of Police to Communicate Syringe Legality to People Who Inject Drugs: The SHIELD Study, Mexico, 2015–2016. American Journal of Public Health 2019; 109(6): 921-926.

Beletsky L, Baker P, Arredondo J, Emuka A, Goodman-Meza D, Medina-Mora ME, Werb D, Davidson P, Amon JJ, Strathdee SA and Magis-Rodriguez C. The global health and equity imperative for safe consumption facilities. The Lancet 2018; 392(10147):553-4

Fiscella K, Wakeman SE, and Beletsky, L. X the X-Waiver: Buprenorphine Deregulation and Mainstreaming Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder. Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry 2018; doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.3685.

Dasgupta N, Beletsky L (joint first authors), Ciccarone D. Opioid Crisis: No Easy Fix to Its Social and Economic Determinants. American Journal of Public Health. 108(2):182-186.

Selected Public Service:

Fellow, Justice Collaborative Institute

Expert Group Member, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria

Consultant, Pew Charitable Trusts