Stimulus Connect 4: Women, Drugs, Pregnancy and the State

July 30, 2020

Women experience increased barriers to health and social services, and when they use drugs and/or engage in sex work they experience additional stigma and discrimination. Women who are pregnant experience the additional judgements of government authorities and many health care providers about the choices they make including: to carry or not carry a fetus, to parent or give a child up, to access or not access prenatal care. In addition power imbalances in relationships mean that as injection drug users they are often second on the needle, reliant on a male for drugs to be injected.

There are a range of factors, and layers of overlapping oppression including sexism, racism, and classism, that lead women to need women-centred harm reduction programs and policies responsive to their lived realities. Their resilience is our teacher.

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  1. Gendering the Scene: Women, Gender-Diverse People, and Harm Reduction in Canada 
  2. Gendering the Scene: We need to listen to women and gender-diverse people who use drugs
  3. Women and Harm Reduction in Ontario: A Capacity Building Toolkit
  4. Women and Substance Use: An Interview with Ann Livingston
  5. “Bed Bugs and Beyond”: An ethnographic analysis of North America’s first women-only supervised drug consumption site
  6. Gendered violence and overdose prevention sites: a rapid ethnographic study during an overdose epidemic in Vancouver, Canada
  7. (Re)shaping the self: An ethnographic study of the embodied and spatial practices of women who use drugs
  8. Women’s utilization of housing-based overdose prevention sites in Vancouver, Canada: An ethnographic study
  9. Gendered drug policy: Motherisk and the regulation of mothering in Canada
  10. Anything written by Susan Boyd, including: With Child: Substance Use During Pregnancy, a Woman-Centred Approach
  11. Multi-Service Programs for Pregnant and Parenting Women with Substance Use Concerns: Women’s Perspectives on Why They Seek Help and Their Significant Changes
  12. Digital Health Solutions to Support Women with Addiction During COVID-19: Applying a Gender- and Trauma-Informed Lens
  13. Substance Use (SU) among Women in the Context of the Corollary Pandemics of COVID-19 and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
  14. The Gender Elephant is an educational tool that can be used by anyone to help learn and teach the concepts of gender identity, gender expression, sex, physical attraction, and romantic attraction.
  15. Brain Story Certification Learn the scientific underpinnings of the Brain Story from leading experts and be eligible for credits.

International Resources

  1. National Advocates for Pregnant Women and all of their Fact Sheets
  2. Clinical Drug Testing of Pregnant Women and Newborns, December 2019
  3. Tough-on-drug policies often hit women hardest: Harm-reduction services can help
  4. The Barcelona Declaration. On International Women’s Day 2019, we declare that the War On Drugs is a war on Womxn Who Use Drugs
  5. Scrutinizing the Foster System’s Relationship With the War on Drugs
  6. “Whatever they do, I’m her comfort, I’m her protector.” How the foster system has become ground zero for the U.S. drug war
  7. When Survivors Give Birth provides survivors and their maternity caregivers with extensive information on the prevalence and short- and long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, emphasizing its possible impact on childbearing women.
  8. Anything written by Lynn M. Paltrow
  9. International Drug Policy Coalition’s webpage on Gender
  10. Take The ACE Quiz — And Learn What It Does And Doesn’t Mean   [Trigger Warning]