This past June was pride month in the U.S. and the movement for gay and transgender equality, and issues surrounding this community were more in the headlines. Gay and transgender health is one of these issues, which includes substance use and abuse.
The LGBTQ community sadly has high rates of substance use and abuse, but that is changing. For people in the LGBTQ community seeking help for an addiction, we provide LGBTQ substance abuse treatment in a private, luxury centre with one-on-one individualised treatment.
Although it is commonly referred to as the LGBTQ community, for our purposes, that represents the entire spectrum of sexual minorities and gender identities. It is important to understand the population overall to best understand the problem of substance use within it.
The LGBTQ community is often difficult to research, as some are still not out to their friends, family and communities, so they do not participate in, or provide false information to, polling and research being done. It is estimated that the population of sexual minorities in the U.S. is between 3-5% of the population as whole. The transgender community represents approximately 0.3% of the population overall. What is encouraging is that the number of youth out to their friends is up to 80%, with over three quarters of them feeling like situations for LGBTQ people are getting better.
This problem here is the disproportionately high rates of substance use by gay and transgender people, which is a significant impediment to the health of this group. Although data on the rates of substance abuse in the gay and transgender population is difficult to measure, it is estimated that between 20 percent to 30 percent of gay and transgender people abuse substances, compared to about 9 percent of the general population.
Rates of substance use and abuse in the LGBTQ community
Let’s look at some of the differences in the LGBTQ from the population overall, when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse. It is difficult to give specific numbers on the amount of LGBTQ people who use and abuse drugs. The statistics here are best estimates of these rates.
- Up to twenty-five percent of gay and transgender people abuse alcohol, compared to 5 to 10 percent of the general population.
- The LGBTQ community as a whole is 2-3 times more likely to abuse substances as compared to heterosexuals.
- Men who have sex with men are 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana than men who do not have sex with men.
- These men also are 12.2 times more likely to use amphetamines than men who do not have sex with men.
- They are also 9.5 times more likely to use heroin than men who do not have sex with men.
It is easy to understand why people in the LGBTQ community use drugs or alcohol. Addiction is often used as an escape from reality. The reality of many LGBTQ individuals is that they are kicked out of the families, lose friends, or get denied jobs simply for who they love.
This is an issue of how they are born, not some defect they have. For many they cannot be out amongst their peers, which can cause depression, stress, anxiety and other illnesses from having to work to hide this very important part of who you are from the world. The good news is that this is changing; more and more the LGBTQ community is accepted in the world, and more and more are seeking help to overcome their addictions to drugs and alcohol.
Seeking LGBTQ substance abuse Treatment
What we know so far is that the LGBTQ population is reluctant to seek treatment, but with an increase in cultural and social acceptance, this has begun to change. The number of people who identify as LGBTQ who seek treatment for addiction has been increasing. Rates for drug use in the LGBTQ community have not been on the rise. This tells us that more and more in the community are comfortable seeking help for their drug or alcohol problem.
Drug and alcohol abuse in sexual minorities can easily be addressed in treatment. This requires cultural awareness training on the part of therapists and staff. It also means that the entire treatment team is ready and willing to talk about issues of sexuality, and how that impacts a person’s substance abuse and recovery. The simple fact of being open and willing to talk about LGBTQ matters will have a tremendous impact on their sobriety and long-term recovery.
Rósglas can help you recover
RosGlas is a luxury addiction therapy retreat and is well versed in issues of relationships, sexuality as well as how the culture treats sexual minorities. We will offer family treatment as an option as well, to try to help you and your loved ones understand one another, and heal from any damage done over the years, either due to prejudices or addiction.
At RosGlas, we work to treat each person as an individual when they come in for addiction counseling and understand who they are in a compassionate and nonjudgmental setting. We understand that the LGBTQ community has many issues specific to it and the process of coming out, or just living in a culture that does not respect them. Our staff are here to help you, and accept you. If you are looking for LGBTQ substance abuse treatment, our compassionate and trained staff are here for you now.