CBRC has received funding from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) to implement a one-year project titled “Addressing Sexualized Substance Use (SSU) among GBT2Q people in Canada through Frontline and Structural Interventions.”
Addressing the needs of Two-Spirit, queer, and trans people who use drugs, as well as frontline health, social and harm reduction workers who provide services to them, the project aims to enhance community capacity to address stigma, reduce or prevent potential harms, improve cultural competency among healthcare and social service providers, and ultimately, enhance the quality of life of these often-overlooked populations.
“Two-spirit, queer, and trans people have unique needs for culturally safe harm reduction information, supplies, and services – particularly with respect to sexualized or Party’and’Play (PnP) contexts,” says Len Tooley, CBRC’s Advancement and Evaluation Director. “Folks experience significant barriers to accessing traditional/mainstream harm reduction and related services. Homophobia, transphobia, racism, ableism, poverty, and a host of other types of marginalization, compounded by stigmatizing attitudes about people who use drugs, make it all the more important that these populations have the information, resources, and support they need to thrive.”
Building on an existing Canadian program model that has shown significant impact, the project will scale up the PeerNPeer harm reduction program, currently run by QTHC in Edmonton and MAX in Ottawa, to two new cities. CBRC has partnered with Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba Inc. (SERC) in Winnipeg, and the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia (ACNS) in Halifax, as the local organizations that will implement and evaluate community-led, peer-delivered, culturally specific harm reduction materials and information, online tools for self-screening, peer support services, and community action to reduce stigma.
Another objective of the project is, more broadly, to enhance mainstream harm reduction services’ ability to meet the needs of Two-Spirit, queer, and trans people who use drugs across the country. “There are already so many community leaders, service providers, and researchers, who have a wealth of experience and insight about sexualized substance use,” says Andy Lessard, CBRC’s Harm Reduction Projects Coordinator. “We hope this project will provide opportunities for them to share and build on that collective knowledge.”
The project will centre people with lived and living experience of sexualized substance use to ensure meaningful community involvement and ownership at all stages, including in paid and leadership positions. The local components of the project (Halifax and Winnipeg) will be mostly in English, while the national component, which will include national stakeholder dialogues and capacity building activities, will be in both official languages.
For more information, please contact CBRC’s Harm Reduction Projects Coordinator at [email protected].