Research examining drug use within Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer (LGBTQ+) communities in Northern Ireland is limited, despite concerns that this is a high-risk population for exposure to drug-related harms. Recent research has also started to move beyond drug use within the conceptualisation of risk and consider alternative theoretical approaches to understanding drug consumption and associated behaviours. This study aims to address this gap in knowledge and contribute towards theoretical understandings by examining drug use and experiences with service providers among LGBTQ+ communities in Northern Ireland through the perspective of the negotiation of risk and the enhancement of pleasure.
The research will utilise a sequential mixed-methods design with four stages: focus groups with service providers; non-participant observations of The Rainbow Project staff; a survey with members of the LGBTQ+ community; and semi-structured interviews with service users. These methods will collect rich and valuable data. Importantly, this research has a unique collaborative partnership with The Rainbow Project and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland which will facilitate access and engagement with both service users and providers.
Research findings will provide deep and unique insight into patterns of drug use within the LGBTQ+ community in Northern Ireland and their experiences with drug treatment and support services. This knowledge and understanding will help to inform drug policy, practices and service provision at a local, national and international level. Findings will also contribute to wider theoretical discussions surrounding motivation, individual agency and negotiating the tensions between risk and enhancement in the spheres of leisure and pleasure.