A five-year study by the Lesbian & Gay Foundation (The LGF) in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) into drug and alcohol use among lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people in England found significant substance dependency problems in the community.
The LGF and UCLan’s national ‘Part of the Picture’ project looked at alcohol and drug use in the LGB community in England over a five year period and has just launched a suite of final reports. The researchers say LGB people are often unable to get the right support for problematic substance use as health services are not set up to meet their specific needs.
The research found that ‘binge drinking’ is high across all LGF groups, with 34% of males and 29% of females reporting binge drinking at least once or twice a week. Available comparable data suggest that LGB people are approximately twice as likely to binge drink at least once a week, compared with the general population, and have a higher likelihood of being substance dependent.
Many LGB people interviewed felt like an ‘outsider’ when accessing support services because of their sexual orientation. They reported being unable to be open about their lifestyle and reasons behind their substance use, or were afraid to come out to heterosexual service workers and peers. Drug and alcohol services often failed to address complex needs, such as mental health issues, alongside substance dependency.
As is often said addiction is an ‘equal opportunities’ disease and we need to cater for all in an equal and fair way. The report concludes with recommendations for commissioners, policy makers, GPs, drug and alcohol service providers, researchers, the voluntary and community sector to address the problematic substance use of LGB people.
Is this different in other countries? I’d be interested to hear 🙂
69 days to go