People who use drugs are exposed to discrimination, stigma and violence across multiple axes of their lives.
Amongst people who use drugs, women, Black, Brown and Indigenous people, ethnic minority people and communities, people experiencing poverty, people in detention, rural communities, gay men and other men who have sex with men, trans and gender non-conforming people, and young people are acutely underserved and underrepresented.
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We highlight the nexus between drugs, criminalisation and the compounding effects of intersectional vulnerabilities.
Drugs, Poverty and Homelessness
Drug use occurs across all demographics, however poverty and homelessness worsen social exclusion and compound the impact of criminalisation. Studies show approximately 20% of people who inject drugs have recent experiences of homelessness or unstable housing.
Gender, Sexuality, Sex and Drugs
Women, gender non-conforming people, LGBTQI+ people and sex workers who use drugs face unique barriers to accessing harm reduction services, including compounded stigma and discrimination.
Race, Ethnicity and Drugs
Globally, Black, Brown, ethnic minority and Indigenous people are disproportionately targeted for drug law enforcement and face discrimination across the criminal system. The war on drugs has provided the architecture within which racist and colonialist laws, policies and practices can operate.