Mental Health at the Intersections of Drug Use and Sex Work

November 7, 2018 @ 8:00PM — 10:00PM

A Webinar with The Icarus Project

Mental Health at the Intersections of Drug Use and Sex Work image

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Drug-using sex workers are heavily pathologized and underserved as mental health consumers/patients/survivors.

The criminal injustice system intertwines with the treatment industry to engender psychiatric abuse and violate civil rights while not allowing these workers access to treatment which respects their agency and addresses their trauma.

In this webinar, we'll discuss how the structural factors which drive poor and marginalized drug-using people into the sex trade are mistaken for psychological deviance and low-self esteem. We'll examine how law enforcement and the helping professions work alongside each other to create harm for drug-using workers using specific examples of current programs and policies. Finally, we'll delve into the class and resource based issues that make it difficult for drug-using street and survival sex workers to obtain mental healthcare, and explore what allies and more privileged sex workers can do to help.

Faciltiated by Caty Simon

Caty is the co-editor of Tits and Sass (, a long-running media site by and for sex workers which has been quoted and linked by the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New Inquiry, Jezebel, and many other outlets. Her writing has appeared in The Forward, Alternet, VICE, Refinery29, Raw Story, make/shift magazine, and HTMLGiant. She is a small town activist in Western Massachusetts who has participated in drug users' union, harm reduction, low-income rights, sex workers' rights, prison abolition, and mad movement campaigns over the past fifteen years. Currently, she raises funds ( and does support work for Whose Corner Is It Anyway, a harm reduction task force run by injection-drug-using survival sex workers. She recently became the national sex worker liaison for Urban Survivors' Union and the sex worker editor for Filter, a drug journalism site. Caty is a white Russian Jewish injection-drug-using low-end escort who was psychiatrically incarcerated as a teen, and she's never had much luck staying closeted about any of those things.

The Icarus Project is a support network and education project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. We advance social justice by fostering mutual aid practices that reconnect healing and collective liberation. We transform ourselves through transforming the world around us. Learn more at