Zoe Savage; Angelia Bowers; Ryan Cassar; Olivia Phelps

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The heroin epidemic continues to rip through the United States, drug overdose statistically being the leading cause of death among those under age 50 in 2018. We aim to focus our research on Sexual and Gender Minorities. In the U.S., many individuals initiate the use of some substances during adolescence. However, youth with SGM identities demonstrate disparities in substance use across multiple substances. The purpose of this study is to examine the ongoing prevalence of heroin usage among SGM communities and what can be done to provide adequate resources for those seeking treatment. Another idea for comparison our research hopes to achieve is, “Are SGM individuals who are gender minorities, or those who are sexual minorities, more likely to use heroin?”. In our search of the literature, it is apparent that the childhood adversity that SGMs face is a likely factor that pushes SGMs to turn to non-prescription opioids, which can then lead to a substance abuse issue for the individual. Among this sample, 5.8% reported ever using heroin. Within our research, we have concluded there are many factors connected back to childhood that affect those within SGM communities causing them to resort to drugs as a form of coping with the societal struggles they endure.

Faculty Mentor

Jonathan Mosko, Ph.D.

Academic Discipline

College of Arts & Sciences



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