The state of the research on opioid outcomes among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexuality- and gender-diverse populations: A scoping review


Purpose: Research on opioid misuse, opioid use disorder (OUD), and overdose (i.e., opioid outcomes) among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other populations within the LGBTQ umbrella (LGBTQ+) remains sparse. The purpose of this scoping review was to characterize the state of the research on opioid outcomes among LGBTQ+ populations, and identify gaps in the extant literature and areas for future research. Methods: We conducted a scoping review of peer-reviewed, English language articles published between 2011 and 2020 that examined opioid outcomes among LGBTQ+ populations in the CINAHL, Embase, PubMed, and PsycINFO databases. We extracted data from articles that focused on opioid outcomes within their specific aims or purpose. We include a general summary for articles that secondarily described opioid outcomes among LGBTQ+ populations. Results: Of 113 published studies that examined opioid outcomes among LGBTQ+ populations, 10% (n = 11) were specifically designed to focus on this topic. Across studies, bisexual populations, particularly women, were at highest risk for opioid misuse and OUD. Few studies examined opioid outcomes by more than one dimension of sexual orientation (n = 3, 27%), race and/or ethnicity (n = 3, 27%), or age (n = 5, 45%). Only two included transgender or gender diverse samples; only one explicitly measured gender identity. Conclusions: Future research is needed to understand the impact of the opioid epidemic on LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender and other gender diverse individuals, and the intersectional role of race, ethnicity, and age in opioid disparities among LGBTQ+ individuals. Additional research could contribute to the development of much-needed affirming OUD treatment and other services for LGBTQ+ people.


Paschen-Wolff MM, Kidd JD, Paine EA




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
    • Women
    • Transgender communities
    • General HIV- population
  • Substance Use
    • Nonmedicinal drugs


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