UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Using photovoice to understand experiences of opioid use among sexual and gender minority youth in Vancouver, Canada Goodyear, Trevor; Ferlatte, Olivier; Fast, Danya; Salway, Travis; Jenkins, Emily (Emily K.), 1981-; Robinson, Samantha; Knight, Rod E.


In Canada, sexual and gender minority youth use opioids at disproportionately high rates. Yet, little is known about the distinct contexts of opioid use within this group, challenging capacity to develop well founded policy and practice supports. This case study aims to examine – in depth – the experiences and contexts of opioid use among a sample of four sexual and gender minority youth in Vancouver, Canada. Qualitative data from photovoice methods and in-depth, semi-structured interviews were collected in 2019. Analysis adopted a reflexive thematic approach from a critical interpretive standpoint, informed by minority stress theory. Three interconnected themes were constructed: (i) minoritised contexts of entry into and continuation of opioid use; (ii) mental health-maintaining and stress-mitigating effects of opioid use in the context of minoritisation; and (iii) intersections of stigma, violence and poverty with opioid use and minoritisation. Findings suggest that the health of sexual and gender minority youth who use opioids is shaped by minority stress and overlapping forms of structural marginalisation. They signal the need for responsive strategies that hold promise in supporting this population, including advancing integrated approaches to substance use and mental health care alongside interventions targeted towards the social and structural determinants of health.

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