A brief submitted to the Standing Committee on Health for the Committee’s study of LGBTQ2 Health in Canada
Licit and illicit drugs are often used by gay, bisexual, queer, and other men who have sex with men, both cisgender and transgender (GBQM), to (1) facilitate social connection and bonding; (2) enhance sexual desire, performance, longevity, or pleasure; and (3) diminish unwanted feelings of sadness, worry, and poor self-image. Among these men, substance use during sex frequently includes the use of non-opioid drugs: crystal methamphetamine, alkyl nitrites (also known as ‘poppers’), ecstasy, ketamine, and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (also known as ‘GHB’). Elevated use of these and other drugs, poor service delivery, and the stigmatization and criminalization of drug use, puts GBQM at increased risk for physical and psychological social challenges, illness, injury, and death. To address these challenges, we recommend the inclusion of sexual and gender minorities as a key population under the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy and the establishment of an independent Law Commission of Canada to provide comprehensive recommendations for revisions to the Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that will reduce and prevent harms among and against GBQM.