The drug overdose crisis has been hardest felt in BC. Research has shown that gender plays a key role in shaping contexts of drug use (e.g., within sex work, intimate partnerships) and access to treatment and harm reduction services. Women access treatment with more severe drug-related profiles relative to men (e.g. violence/trauma), yet few services are women-centred. New Vancouver Coastal Health guidelines highlight grave gaps in supports and prevention for marginalized women, and several new models of care are being rolled out (e.g., women-only consumption rooms). Several randomized clinical trials (RCTs) are underway in BC to increase access to evidence-based treatments.
However, the gendered impacts of these interventions remain poorly understood and under-investigated. The proposed research will evaluate the impacts of 'naturally occurring' and clinical interventions (i.e., through prospective methods and RCTs) using a gender lens to identify gender differences in treatment outcomes and barriers to accessing services. Research findings will be widely disseminated with the aim of informing gender-specific policies and programs for people who use drugs in BC and beyond.