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Gay, bisexual and transgender people exhibit higher rates of drug abuse

Published On: 08-11-2015 in Category: Addiction, Drug Abuse, LGBT, Prejudice


Substance abuse rates among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals is estimated to be between 20 and 30 percent, which is more than double that of the general population, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). While legislation has passed providing LGBT people with protective rights, the stresses that go hand-in-hand with the discrimination and stigma still attached to these individuals is present.

“Why the Gay and Transgender Populations Experience Higher Rates of Substance Abuse,” a survey conducted by the Center for American Progress, notes that LGBT people face many obstacles. In some regions of America, their lifestyle choices are not as clearly accepted, bringing about a slew of discrimination from peers and family that drives many to abuse drugs and alcohol. The LGBT population is a marginalized group of people and some turn to drug and alcohol to cope with the societal stressors they face. Many of these individual feel misunderstood and have inclinations to isolate and hide their feelings from others, especially as children.

According to the 2007 study “Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men,” figures indicate that homosexual men are over three times more likely to use marijuana, twelve times more likely to use amphetamines and nine times more likely to use heroin than heterosexual males.

The LGBT community is subjected to many forms of social prejudice. This stems from the belief that being gay, bisexual or transgender is bad or wrong. There have been many incidents of extreme violence against gay and transgender individuals across the country over the years, which cannot be ignored. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation noted that in 2007 alone, 1265 LGB-related hate crimes were reported to the FBI. Incidents of extreme prejudice cause LGBT individuals to fear normal social settings, driving some to suffer in silence and isolation. These incidents of discrimination typically trigger increased levels of anxiety, depression and fear.

LGBT youth are just as prone to use drugs as they when they are adults. A 2008 study published in the journal Addiction, titled “Sexual orientation and adolescent substance use: a meta-analysis and methodological review,” found LGBT youth to be 190 percent more likely to abuse drugs.

The disease of addiction spreads across every demographic regardless of race, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation. Southern California is home to openly LGBT-friendly addiction treatment centers that provide a safe environment for anyone who is struggling with the disease of addiction. Addiction affects millions of Americans everyday and nobody deserves to struggle in silence.

Drug Treatment and Rehab Centers of Anaheim is committed to helping those who struggle with drug addiction find effective addiction treatment options in southern California. Finding the right treatment programs can be a stressful process and we help those families who are struggling to find their loved ones help. We offer free consultation to anyone who calls and is seeking help looking for addiction treatment. If you have a loved one who is struggling with drug addiction and is in need of addiction treatment, please do not hesitate to call. You may reach us at (916) 379-7248. Our helpline is open 24/7 and our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right treatment program for you.

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