The impact of discrimination on substance use disorders among sexual minorities
This paper aimed to review the literature regarding the impact of discrimination on substance use disorders among Sexual Minorities, with a focus on alcohol, opioids, stimulants, polydrug use, chemsex, cannabis and tobacco, as well as inequalities in the access to health care services.
It is alarmingly clear that sexual minorities report higher rates of morbidity if compared to the general population. Health care delivery inequalities have also been reported in this special population. Also, the lack of data from low- and middle-income countries on substance use among sexual minorities is a major concern. Certainly, discrimination play a key-role among leading factors to substance abuse, continued use, disorders, and lower levels of preventive and treatment interventions. However, it may be difficult to estimate the impact of discrimination because of the lack of research data and different methodologies of literature studies.
Moreover, sexual minorities are differently categorized and defined and evidences may be not comparable between studies. There is an urgent need of strategic guidelines and research investments aimed at prioritizing these populations disproportionately impacted by substance use. Equity-oriented policies and programs can facilitate opportunities and decrease substance use in these vulnerable subgroups, including community- and peer-led initiatives and nonjudgmental and inclusive health services.